02 Jul 2019


9 SingLit books you can read with your family for a great cause


The school holidays may be over but here’s a fun little weekend activity you can continue to do together with your children – read!

Whether you’re reading aloud to your child, or just spending time as a family while delving deep into your favourite titles, picking up a book has never been more convenient. And now, thanks to the annual Read for Books charity book drive, you can share the gift of reading and make a difference in the lives of others.

Organised by the National Library Board, Singapore (NLB), Read for Books is a charity book drive, with the intention of sharing the gift of reading with the less privileged. This year, NLB hopes to raise 4,250 books for their beneficiaries.


Heres how you can help! From 13 - 28 July 2019, for every 10 people who read for 15 minutes, one book will be donated to selected beneficiaries.


The presenting sponsor for Read for Books 2019 is Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd and it is supported by Scholastic Education International (Singapore) Pte Ltd.



Having trouble deciding what to read? Here are a few suggestions:

For your children

Introduce your young readers to Singapore with these delightful titles featuring young protagonists! Best for ages 9 and above.

1. Girl Overboard! A Rose Among Thorns

Rosie Smith is 13 and is leaving New York for her mother’s homeland of Singapore. How does she handle this culture shock of living as a teen in an entirely new country halfway across the world? Find out in the first book of the entertaining series, Girl Overboard! written by Sheri Tan and illustrated by Fernando Hierro.

2. Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong

10-year-old Samuel Tan Cher Lock is better known as Sherlock Sam, Singapore’s greatest kid detective! Together with his homemade robot sidekick Watson, as well as his group of friends, Sherlock Sam solves mysteries in Singapore and beyond. The first book of this children’s mystery series, Sherlock Sam written by husband-and-wife team A.J. Low, was so popular that it spawned another 13 books, including an anthology of short stories.

3. The Diary of Amos Lee: I Sit, I Write, I Flush!

One of the first Singaporean children’s bestselling series, and it all began here. Amos Lee records all his adventures in Singapore in a diary that his mother forces him to write. It’s an easy read about the many facets of Singapore life, especially the food, told through the eyes of an earnest protagonist. Author Adeline Foo went on to write two spin-off series, Whoopie Lee (starring Amos’ sister!) and The Travel Diary of Amos Lee.


4. Danger Dan confronts the Merlion Mastermind

Mother-daughter writing team Monica Lim and Lesley-Anne Tan take young readers through Singapore’s history in this educational adventure series featuring an ordinary Singaporean kid who accidentally time-travels to the past and becomes an unlikely hero who needs to restore Singapore’s timeline.

5. The Amazing Sarong

This bestseller is the first picture book written and illustrated by Quek Hong Shin. Set in Singapore in the mid-1960s, it’s an excellent way to introduce your child to the almost forgotten kampung lifestyle that used to thrive here. It’s suitable for reading out loud with your younger ones, or for your older ones to read to themselves once they’re able to. 


For you, the parents

6. The Complete Eh, Goondu!

Revisit your Singlish with this throwback volume, which collects the 1982 classic Eh, Goondu! and its 1986 sequel Lagi Goondu, a humourous take on Singapore’s infamous slang phrases by veteran newspaper columnist Sylvia Toh Paik Choo. Younger parents may not even recognise some of these phrases anymore!

7. The Best I Could

The late, great Subhas Anandan is best-known for being Singapore’s high-profile criminal lawyer. With his motto that even the most heinous offender deserves a proper trial, he represented some of Singapore’s worst. This autobiography reveals more about his life and career, and features cases that he believed bring out the best in him.

8. Rice Bowl

A historical fiction set in 1970s Singapore that follows young, passionate and idealistic Marie as she explores living and loving in the newly independent country. This is the first novel of Singapore Literature Prize winner Suchen Christine Lim and was originally published in 1984 but many of the themes are still relevant today.


9. If I Could Tell You

The en bloc sale of an HDB block might mean good news to most, but in her first novella, Jing-Jing Lee explores how the impending displacement affects all the residents within. You’ll definitely find a familiar face among the host of characters that she brings to life in this rarely explored slice of Singapore life.


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Did you know all these books are available in NLB’s digital library?

All these 9 titles, and thousands more, are available as ebooks and audiobooks in the NLB digital library. If you’re a Singapore Citizen, you can borrow up to 16 ebooks and audiobooks simply by downloading the NLB Mobile app. And the best part is, you don’t need to worry about overdue fines – your loans will be automatically returned after 21 days.

Here’s a simple 3-step process to borrow and read ebooks from NLB’s digital library:

  1. Download and open the NLB Mobile app on your device, then either search for ebooks by keyword or by subject. You will need your mylibrary ID to borrow. Here’s how to sign up if you don’t have your mylibrary ID yet: go.gov.sg/mylibraryid

  2. Once you’ve found your chosen ebook, click on it to get the option to borrow the eBook. Since there are limited copies, the ebook may not be available. You have the option to “Reserve” it so that you loan it as soon as it becomes available.

  3. You can then read your ebook from the NLB app (it opens a browser window) or download it and read it in the Overdrive app.

As mentioned above, there’s no need to “return” the ebook. It will be removed from your library after 21 days.

If you need more detail on the process, NLB has produced this handy guide.


So do your part for the less fortunate and join the Read for Books initiative! Organise a reading party, get together as a family, or simply chill out on your own with your mobile device or ebook reader, every bit of effort goes a long way towards sharing the gift of reading with someone back home in Singapore. 

Here’s how you can participate in Read for Books:

  1. Register your interest by submitting the registration form online.

  2. Read for 15 minutes anywhere you want from 13 to 28 July 2019.

  3. Take 1 or 2 photos. Feel free to share them on your various social media accounts with the hashtag #readingnationsg and tag @readingnationsg.

  4. Email read@nlb.gov.sg with your name, number of participants and the photos of your reading activity by 2 Aug 2019 (Friday), 11.59pm.

 For more information, visit the website: www.nationalreadingmovement.sg/readfest


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