By Felicia Low-Jiminez

Don Bosco
Don Bosco

I confess that I have never met Don Bosco in person. We’re friends on Facebook, we’ve exchanged emails, I have copies of his books, but I’ve yet to meet the man face to face. However, his reputation precedes him. Don is known as an innovator in children’s book publishing, someone who’s constantly coming up with new ways to entice kids to read, and a writer that takes risks with his projects. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, Don is also known as a Super Cool dad. He is perhaps one of the few writers I know who not only draws inspiration from his two sons, but directly involves them in writing and illustrating the books that he publishes. I honestly can’t imagine a better way to encourage and groom a new generation of readers and writers.

Tell us more about your newest book, Lion City Adventures.

Lion City Adventures is marketed as a book for children (8 to 11), but now we’re discovering that parents, teachers and other adults are fascinated with it too.

The book features 10 very different locations around Singapore, from the Singapore River to Little India, Gardens by the Bay to the Mint Museum of Toys.

The aim is to introduce children to Singapore’s rich heritage as well as its modern marvels, and we’ve done this by mashing up different types of content. Each chapter contains an exploration guide for the place, colourful illustrations, child-friendly activities, pages for sketching and journalling, and also a role-playing challenge where readers help to solve a mystery.

We’ve tried to be a little more creative with the role-playing aspect. There’s an epic background narrative about an old exploration society started by three children in Singapore back in 1894, called the Lion City Adventuring Club, and this runs throughout the book. Also, when readers get to the end, there’s an official Lion City Adventuring Club certificate waiting for them.

By introducing this alternate reality element which celebrates curiosity and exploration, we can eventually expand the story out of the book and into a wider trans-media package, with print, digital as well as real-world experiences. And so this book is an introduction to all that.

At the China Children Book Expo, you would have been amazed to see the variety of children’s books on sale and the eager young readers picking out their favorites.

The expo, which ran in Beijing from May 28 to June 1, featured activities such as storytellingand children’s art workshops. It was the first child-centered event that had been included in the annual Beijing Reading Season, hinting at the growing importance of the children’s book market.

A reading event organised by two mothers who disapproved of the NLB’s move to remove three children’s books was held on Sunday. Meanwhile, more than 25,000 signatures have been garnered for an online letter supporting NLB’s decision: CNA

A reading event organised by two mothers who disapproved of the National Library Board’s (NLB) move to remove three children’s books was held at the National Library’s atrium on Sunday afternoon (July 13).

Among several plans to promote literature, South Korea hopes to send children’s books to the North as part of Incheon’s turn as UNESCO World Book Capital 2015: Publishing Perspectives

The unfolding South Korean ferry tragedy has cast a pall over Incheon’s plans to celebrate its status as UNESCO World Book Capital 2015.  The ferry was traveling from Incheon Port to the southern resort island of Jeju. At the London Book Fair, where Korea was Market Focus, many of the proposed schemes for the year-long accolade were on display.

Researcher finds Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung both credited with fiercely ideological but ‘quite enjoyable’ tales: The Guardian

From Madonna to Barack Obama, celebrities and politicians have long been tempted to dabble in the world of children’s books – but their output pales in comparison to the “ultra” violent tales for children ostensibly written by North Korea’s former leaders Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung, according to an Australian academic.

MusharrafThis month, Pakistani author Musharraf Ali Farooqi launched a new publishing house, Kitab, to promote Urdu literature among children in Pakistan: Mid-Day

Farooqi: This year, which I spent trying and testing things, was an eye-opener. I travelled to schools in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi and did sessions with children. We sold quite a few books there, and I returned with a better idea of how many copies I must actually print.