AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award shortlists Writers, Illustrators, and Translators of the Best Picture Book in Asia

The shortlist for the 2017 AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award by Genting Singapore (ACBA) was announced on Tuesday by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event. ACBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Genting Singapore, a Singapore-based regional leisure, hospitality and integrated resorts development specialist.

This is a new award presented to an outstanding published picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer, illustrator, and translator team of Asian descent living in Asia. The writer, illustrator, and translator of the winning book will each receive a $10,000 cash prize. In the case of the winning title not being officially translated, the $10,000 translator prize will instead be used as grant for the publisher of the winning work to commission and publish a translation of the book.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairperson of the NBDCS Executive Committee said, “Translation is very important to the Book Council. 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. We are happy to have Genting Singapore as our partner for this award, and are delighted that recognizing great Asian picture books is important to them as well.”

There were a total of 245 entries from all over Asia, the most for any Book Council award in its awards programme history, including Bangladesh, Singapore, the Philippines, Lebanon, China, Thailand, Russia, India, Syria, and Malaysia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist.

Mr Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong-based author of numerous children’s books, and Chief Judge of the 2017 ACBA, says, “The entries were excellent and we judges 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 this year, the competition has drawn beautiful books with stunning artwork and original, imaginative stories which really transport the reader to new worlds.”

His fellow judges on the panel are: Mr James Mayhew, award-winning author and illustrator from the United Kingdom; Mr Lee Kow Fong, Singaporean author and illustrator; Ms Petra Nagyová Džerengová, author and publisher from Slovakia; and Ms Nanami Kasasaki, Senior Vice President, Genting Singapore Corporate Planning.

The winner of the 2017 ACBA will be announced during Indonesia Night of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) on 19 May, and will be presented by the evening’s Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

The Shortlist:


Name Title Country
J.H. Low Night in the Gardens Singapore
Hsin-Yu Sun Home Taiwan

Adeline Foo and Beth Parrocha


Tiny Feet, Tiny Shoes

Singapore/ Philippines
Chiki Kikuchi Chikibam Meow Japan

Eve Aw and Tan Yun Ru

Grandma and Things that Stay the Same  


Nari Hong Don’t Be Sorry, Dad! South Korea


About the shortlisted books and their creators:

Night in the Gardens

Mei was afraid of the dark and unable to sleep. To help her overcome her fear, Adventurous Andy whisked her off on a magical tour of the city at night. Children will enjoy this fun rhyming story as they discover the beauty of Singapore’s skyline after dark, together with Mei, in this beautifully illustrated book.

A passionate artist, illustrator and creator of stories, J.H. Low holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Arts from the University of Leeds, UK, and an MA in Children’s Books Illustration from the Anglia Ruskin University, UK. He received an Honourable Mention for the prestigious McMillan Prize in 2009.


A seed is brought from China to Taiwan by a young boy. He plants it and makes Taiwan his temporary home, dreaming that someday he will go back to China. After a few decades, the seed has grown into a big tree while the boy an old man. His dream withers and his house is torn for the new city plan that makes his place a city garden. Luckily, the old tree is not removed and the old man comes to visit it from time to time. Visiting the tree has become a symbolic ritual of coming home.

Born in Taipei City, writer and illustrator Hsin-Yu Sun started receiving classical training in fine arts from the age of 3. She navigated a career path in visual design for 20 years, before recapturing her passion for painting. She has been a picture book illustrator since 1998. In 2008, she became a full- time illustrator after her works, A Trip from the Zoo and Afternoon, won the Hsin-Yi Children Literature Award. The Street Light with the Color of the Persimmon (2011), won her the first Taiwan Golden Tripod Award. Her work One Day in Beijing also won the Non-Fiction Special-Mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2015.

Tiny Feet, Tiny Shoes

Ling was only six years old when she buried a treasure in front of a cotton tree. Years later, she became a mother, and many more years later, a grandmother. Thinking about her past, Ling wishes to recover the forgotten treasure that she had buried years ago as a child. She gets Tommy, her grandson, to help her. Can she find her buried treasure? This is a story of how one brave little girl chose to be set free from an age-old Chinese custom of bound feet.

Writer Adeline Foo is an MFA graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Asia. She has 28 published children’s books, with ten national bestsellers in Singapore. Her books have been sold in Singapore, India, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Australia between 2009 and 2016.

Illustrator Ma. Elizabeth Parrocha-Doctolero is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of the Phlippines, College of Fine Arts, major in visual communication. She is a book designer and children’s book illustrator. She has illustrated more than fifty children’s books and counting. She has won several awards for her works including the Grand Prize and Second Prize for Samsung KidsTime Author’s Awards.

Chikibam Meow

Chikibam, Chikibam, it’s the Chikibam Parade. The girl and the animals all march with gusto. While they are marching the big, big cat appears. This is gonna be serious!

Writer and illustrator Chiki Kikuchi was born in 1975. He is a Japanese illustrator, and the author of

White Cat, Black Cat. He won a Golden Apple at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava in 2013.

Grandma and Things that Stay the Same

In this engaging and humorous story, a young girl has a familiar and common encounter with her Grandma that most young children often have with elderly relatives. It’s time for the yearly reunion dinner with Grandma. She asks the same questions as she would every year. However, we see how this sameness amidst our ever-changing environment makes home and family all the more precious.

Writer Eve Aw works in advertising, tinkering in the digital, tech, social and mobile space. She’s published numerous websites, banner ads and apps, but this is her first book. Eve is the owner of a post-graduate degree in business, a bad memory and a sweet tooth.

Illustrator Tan Yunroo graduated with an illustration degree from Middlesex University in London and is embarking on a career within the graphic design and art industry. She has won awards in the 3M “Super Sticky Ties! Unite” Competition 2012, D&AD New Blood 2012 and Malaysia Good Design Mark 2014. She has also had her work exhibited in the Craft Community Exhibition in Singapore 2011, D&AD x LWLies Cover Illustration Exhibition in London 2012 and Launch in London 2015.

Don’t Be Sorry, Dad!

How would you feel or react if your father was unable to cycle, skate or swim with you? In this heart- warming story of love, appreciation and acceptance, the author shows how a young daughter chooses to appreciate and focus on the positive. She enjoys many fun activities with her wheelchair- bound father. Experience this loving bond between father and daughter as you enter into their world in this simple yet charming, and beautifully hand-illustrated story.

Writer, illustrator, and translator Nari Hong worked as a graphic designer for 6 years before falling in love with the process of making art by hand. She is now an illustrator and printmaker working and living in Seoul and London. For this book, creating her art without the use of a computer allows her to convey a frankness and personal touch to her work, helping her create power and inspiration in the media she uses with just her hands alone.