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The award is presented biennially to an outstanding unpublished picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer and illustrator team of Asian descent living in Asia.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Chairperson of the NBDCS Executive Committee, says, “We at the Book Council are very happy to see so many new and unpublished picture books from around Asia, and that the shortlist reflects this fantastically wide range of talent.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.

For the first time ever, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), an annual children’s literary event organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), is putting together a showcase of Singaporean children’s authors and illustrators at a pre- festival evening event, the AFCC Makan & Mingle.

This one-of-a-kind event is a lead-up to the eighth edition of the AFCC 2017, set to take place from 17 to 21 May 2017 at the National Library Building, Singapore.

Makan & Mingle will be held on 18 April 2017, at L5, The Treetop, *SCAPE, from 7–9pm, and will showcase more than 100 children’s and young adult titles created by Singaporean authors and illustrators, published in the last two years.

Titles will range from popular books penned by award-winning authors like Emily Lim, Hidayah Amin, Don Bosco and Neil Humphreys, to works by comic artists like David Liew and Evangeline Neo.

Translated titles, as well as several titles written in other Mother Tongue languages, will also be featured. Participating publishers include Epigram Books, Ethos Books, Math Paper Press, Armour Publishing, Bubbly Books, Crimson Earth, Pepperdog Press, World Scientific, Balestier Press, and others.

“We hope that Makan & Mingle will become a regular showcase for the talent and works of Singaporean authors and illustrators,”says Mr Kenneth Quek, Festival Director of AFCC 2017. “We are excited to be able to display these home grown works in one space, and to highlight them to the industry as well as the general public in Singapore, as a precursor to UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day which falls on April 23.”

Guests include local writers and illustrators, publishers, pre-school and primary school teachers, parents and general readers. At the free-to-enter event, guests can browse through the book exhibits, interact with the authors and illustrators, and also purchase titles from the pop-up bookstore set-up by Closetfulofbooks.

Publishing professionals and representatives from partner organisations in the industry, such as the National Library Board, POPULAR, and The Select Centre, will also be present. Members from other key organisations like ECDA have also been invited.

The AFCC Makan & Mingle, which doubles up as an important networking opportunity for industry players, will conclude a cocktail reception and the announcement of the shortlists for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award and the 2017 AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award by Genting Singapore, both of which are managed by NBDCS.

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The Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), to be held from 30 May to 6 June 2015 in Singaporereturns for the sixth iteration this year with an expanded programme engaging creators, producers, distributors, and end-users of children’s content under one roof.

According to the organiser  of AFCC, the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), this year’s AFCC will host a total of 111 speakers, including 57 local speakers and 54 international speakers from 14 different countries around the world including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Hong Kong, France, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Syria, Korea and Japan. Luminaries such as Rosemary Johnston, Professor of Education and Culture from University of Technology in Sydney, Australia and Dylan Yamada-Rice, Lecturer in Early Childhood Education from University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom will be presenting at the AFCC Teachers Congress, one of the festival’s regular tracks.

As part of celebrating 50 years of close and cordial bilateral diplomatic relations, Singapore is the Guest of Honour Country at the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair to be held from 14-22 February 2015 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India.

Supported by the National Arts Council (NAC) and the Media Development Authority (MDA), this endeavour intends to raise the profile of Singapore in India, and to give recognition to the authors, illustrators, publishers and other key players involved in Singapore’s publishing industry. The delegation will arrive in Delhi in two waves: publishers on 11 February, and authors and illustrators on 13 February.

New categories and prizes are introduced in 2014 to energise the biennial award

R RamachandranThe National Book Development Council of Singapore (The Book Council) will introduce significant changes to its biennial Singapore Literature Prize (SLP).

This is according to a press statement by the Book Council.

Supported by the National Arts Council (NAC), this prestigious award will now have separate categories for Fiction (Short Story and Novel) and Poetry, as well as the new category of Literary Non-Fiction. Prizes will be awarded for works in Singapore’s four official languages. Therefore, the total number of prizes will increase from four to twelve, up to a value of $10,000 for each winner in each category.

Crowdtivate is co-managed by StarHub i3 and its partner, Crowdonomic, and is supported by National Book Development Council of Singapore, among others

Singapore telco StarHub has announced the beta launch of a new crowdfunding platform for the region: Crowdtivate (

According to a statement from the telco, this online social launchpad is ‘aimed at helping local and Asia-based entrepreneurs and artists make their innovative ideas come true’.

Crowdtivate is an open platform for entrepreneurs and artists that will facilitate financial contributions from supporters around the region via a funding system in return for specific rewards.