SINGAPORE — Three books by Singapore authors have made it to the shortlist for the inaugural Asian Children’s Book Award at the 2017 Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC).
The shortlist includes Night in the Garden by artist and illustrator J. H. Low; Tiny Feet Tiny Shoes by veteran children’s book author Adeline Foo in collaboration with illustrator Elizabeth Parrocha-Doctolero from the Philippines; and Grandma and Things that Stay the Same by writer Eve Aw and illustrator Tan Yunroo.
The new award - a joint initiative between festival organiser, the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), and Genting Singapore - is to be presented to an outstanding published picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer, illustrator, and translator team of Asian descent currently living in Asia.
Claire Chiang, chairman of the NBDCS executive committee, said: “Asia is such a wide and diverse place with varied people and myriad languages, and reading each other’s stories is the first step in understanding each other.”
The shortlisted books were announced by the NBDCS at Makan & Mingle, the first-ever public showcase of more than 100 children’s and young adults books held on Tuesday (April 18) at *Scape.
The AFCC will be on from May 17 to May 21, and aims to highlight Singapore children’s and young adult authors, illustrators and content creators.
The Singapore entries were among six titles selected from 245 entries from all over Asia — the most for any NBDCS award in its awards programme history. The other three entries are books from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
The winning book will be announced on May 19.
The writer, illustrator, and translator behind the title will each receive a S$10,000 cash prize.
If the winning book has not yet been translated into English, the $10,000 meant to go to the translator will be used as grant for the publisher of the winning work to commission and publish a translation of the book.
Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong-based author of numerous children’s books, is the chief judge of the Asian Children’s Book Award. He said that the entries were excellent, and he and his panel had a tough job trying to choose only six titles for the shortlist.
“In the past, books for young readers in this region tended to be folk tale collections with art in dated styles. But the competition has drawn (entries such as) beautiful books with stunning artwork and original, imaginative stories which really transport the reader to new worlds.”
Vittachi was joined on the panel by James Mayhew, award-winning author and illustrator from the United Kingdom; Lee Kow Fong, Singaporean author and illustrator; Petra Nagyová Džerengová, an author and publisher from Slovakia; and Nanami Kasasaki, senior vice president of Genting Singapore.