October 4, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

National Book Development Council of Singapore shorts lists 6 entries for 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award (SPBA)

3 min read

The shortlist for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award (SPBA) was announced on Tuesday by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event. SPBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Scholastic Asia, the world’s largest children’s books publishing and distribution company.

The award is presented biennially to an outstanding unpublished picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer and illustrator team of Asian descent living in Asia. As well as a $10,000 cash prize, the winning book will also be published by Scholastic Asia.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairperson of the NBDCS Executive Committee, says, “We at the Book Council are very happy to see so many new and unpublished picture books from around Asia, and that the shortlist reflects this fantastically wide range of talent. We love to see different styles in writing and art, and hope that all of them will eventually be published at some point.”

There were a total of 137 entries from all over Asia, including Bhutan, Singapore, the Philippines, Iran, China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist, each from a different country.

Ms Rilla Melati, Singaporean author and publisher, and Chief Judge of the 2017 SPBA, says, “The entries were a joy to read overall, with some of the manuscripts and colourful artwork having the qualities to cross mediums and be turned into children’s apps. It was fantastic to see entries coming in from all over Asia, and to learn about the diverse cultures of different places through their stories and illustrations.” Her fellow judges on the panel include Mr James Foley, author and illustrator from Australia, and Ms Charlene Lai, author, reviewer, and blogger from Taiwan.

The winner of the 2017 SPBA will be announced during Opening Night of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) on 16 May, and will be presented by the evening’s Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Leader of the House, Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien.


The Shortlist:


Name Title Country
Aytul Akal, Mavisel Yener, Kubra Nur Ozkececi, and Yasemin Yener  

The Flying Grandpa




Emila Yusof

How Rooster Became the Zodiac Animal  


Ho Jia En, Sabrine Ong, Shona Menon, Wong Shu Jing, and Melodie James  

The Little Durian Tree



Anuradha Ananth Huggler and Shailja Jain Chougule Poorni and Her Peepal Leaf India
Maria Karina Putri The Treasure of Kancil Indonesia
Le Thi Bich Khoa The Whale Whisperer Vietnam


About the shortlisted books and their creators:

The Flying Grandpa

An old man is bored and lonely, so he decides to get a job. What follows is a series of mishaps as he tries to get a job at pet shop, patisserie, carpet shop, grocery, music store, florist, toy shop, causing chaos every time. Until he reaches the one place where he might shine: the library.

Writer and translator Aytül Akal started as a journalist, and now has more than 150 stories, picture books, novels, poems and plays for children and young adults, many of which have been translated into German, Spanish, Hungarian, Arabic, Persian, English, and Bulgarian. She was a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2010. She is passionate about promoting reading culture amongst children, and has won several prizes for her devotion to children’s books.

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