Graphic by Freepik
Christmas is here and it’s time to celebrate with festive cheer and stories that we find oh so dear! Yes siree! A book is the best gift to give and receive (in our opinion). The only thing that beats a book as a gift is perhaps, a pile of books. Or a mountain of them.
Here is a list of books we find gift-worthy.
“Once upon a time, I was an average Joe, neither at the top nor at the bottom. Heck, I was even the middle sibling! But all it took was one test, just one to change my life. Suddenly, I was important. I was a GENIUS. Everyone was waiting anxiously to hear the pearls of wisdom that would drop from my mouth. Only one problem I didn’t know what I was a genius at.
If you think geniuses have it all, I bet you haven’t met someone like me. I’d give anything to be a normal thirteen-year-old again. At least I wouldn’t be dragged everywhere, from museums to theatre classes to horse races, to find out my geniosity. At least my best friend wouldn’t act like Ive got a contagious disease. At least I wouldn’t be a freak.
Still want to know more? Take a peek into this secret diary to find out what happens when an ordinary boy suddenly becomes the World’s Worst Genius.”
Children will find joy in savouring the anecdotes of the World’s Worst Genius as he shares his academic escapades in an absorbing personal voice.
“When a child steps outside his ordinary world and travels to a foreign city or country, an adventure awaits. In Find and Seek Singapore, a small boy arrives in Singapore with his family, willing to explore his new surroundings with an open heart and a spirit of wonder. All senses are activated as we are taken on his travels and discover what Singapore is like through the eyes of a child.”
A visual treat for both parent and child, we take a walk through Singapore in a different perspective as the account of the boy’s adventures are written in a beautifully rhythmic manner.
“What Sallamah Didn’t Know tells of the true life story of the author’s mother. Sallamah, was born into a poor Chinese family where male babies were revered over female ones. She was given away to a Malay family during a time when inter-racial adoption was a common practice in Singapore. Sallamah grew up thinking that her life was ordinary. She lived in an ordinary kampong with an ordinary family and had an ordinary group of friends whom she played ordinary games with. Little would she realise that an innocent-looking piece of paper would reveal a secret which her parents had painstakingly kept from her. The book takes the reader through Sallamah’s journey and discusses the true meaning of family.”
Unravel the story of Sharon Ismail’s mother, Sallamah, who was a Chinese baby adopted by an Indian father and a Malay mother after her own parents decided to give her away. The intriguing story leads one to ponder about Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-cultural environment, how unique it is to us and also, the essence of family.
Students who do not fancy reading in prose and seem to prefer Science over languages will find the Sir Fong series absolutely delightful. The same goes for language enthusiasts who think that scientific concepts can only be found in textbooks. Otto Fong delivers scientific concepts such as quantum physics and molecular science in such a compelling and visually appealing manner that children will most certainly find themselves enraptured in the series.
“Nine-year-old Ling has a very happy life. Her parents are both dedicated doctors at the best hospital in Wuhan, and her father teaches her English as they listen to Voice of America every evening on the radio. But when one of Mao’s political officers moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust and hatred, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbours, and soon, for herself and her family. For the next four years, Ling will suffer more horrors than many people face in a lifetime. Will she be able to grow and blossom under the oppressive rule of Chairman Mao? Or will fighting to survive destroy her spirit – and end her life?”
Meant for young adults, this is the perfect book for students in the secondary level. Through Ling’s gripping story, students are led to explore the history of China during Mao Ze Dong’s reign. In addition, students might feel compelled to consider issues and discussion topics revolving political ruling, propaganda and human rights.
“This is an anthology of twelve stories from twelve unique Singaporean voices: S. Rajaratnam, Yeo Wei Wei, Goh Sin Tub, Simon Tay, Stephanie Ye, Alfian Sa’at, Suchen Christine Lim, Wena Poon, O Thiam Chin, ClaireTham, Philip Jeyaretnam and Felix Cheong. These stories chart the emotional ups and downs of protagonists who strive to find meaning against the backdrop of negotiations between the local and the global, between the past and an ever-changing, urbanised present. Rediscovering the self and the value of relationships form the focus of these tales, which range from the realistic to the surreal, with the occasional epiphany about one’s mortality and the meaning of existence within the bustling city.”
A lovely introduction to Singaporean literature, secondary level students will find the stories in this anthology comfortingly familiar. The issues encased within the riveting stories reflect our culture today and yesteryear. All in all, this read will certainly leave the students wanting more!
“How many hours do Singaporeans work in a week? What is Singapore foot? Just how much is the prime minister of Singapore paid in a year? When was the first Starbucks cafe in Singapore opened? How many ways can you have yusheng? What is Singapore’s most unwelcome tree? Where is the most heavily populated cemetery in Singapore? How many merlion statues are there in Singapore?
Singapore at Random provides the answers to these and many other fun and fascinating questions about the country.”
Fans of posts on Facebook feeds and websites that feed random bits of engaging trivia to its readers will find delight in this book that is every bit Singaporean.
The Amos Lee series has come a long way from its beginnings in the toilet to starting off a travel diary series which we find a fantastic idea indeed! Join Amos Lee as he monkeys in Malaysia, tracks off to Taipei and flys off to Seoul for some “Seoul Searching”! What we really do enjoy is how enriching bits of cultural education is slipped into the anecdotes of Amos Lee. Grab a copy of Amos Lee’s travel diary series and you’ll see how one could truly experience the world through books.
P.S. All books featured can be found at Closetful of Books (CoB). CoB has an extensive collection of books for infants, toddlers, young children, teens and young adults that may not be displayed on their webstore so if you have any queries as to what books would suit your child best, do speak to Denise Tan of CoB. She is truly THE best curator of children’s books in Singapore (she has read every single book she sells and trust us, she has a huge collection). Moreover, you would be able to find non-mainstream books on the shelves of CoB for very very valuable prices.