The Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award Winner is Announced at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content
In 2010 the National Book Development Council of Singapore announced the establishment of The Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award. The prize, valued at S$10,000, is to be presented biennially for an outstanding children’s book so as to recognize and to inspire excellence in children’s literature published in Singapore.
Mrs Hedwig Anuar was the first Singaporean Director of the National Library of Singapore, a position she held from 1960 until her retirement in 1988. Though she put in place the foundations of the modern library system in Singapore and made contributions to all aspects of library work, this award recognises her outstanding contribution to children’s librarianship and the promotion of books and reading for children. Mrs Anuar was particularly interested in drawing children to the library, especially the baby boomers of the 1950s and 1960s. These people had very little opportunities for education.
Mrs Anuar raised the reading levels of all sectors of Singapore society and especially the children and young people. Numerous programmes were organised to promote the joys of reading. Storytelling sessions for young children, lectures and classes for students and cultural events for the general public were daily affairs at the libraries even then. She was the key inspiration behind setting up the Asian Children’s Collection at the National Library which has now become an outstanding research centre for Asian Children’s Literature.
On May 27th the inaugural Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award winner was announced at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. I was thrilled to attend the evening event which consisted of the Singapore Children’s Literature Lecture followed by the Awards Presentation. The ceremony took place in the historic Chamber Room of The Arts House and was attended by approximately 200 including Mrs. Anuar. Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta delivered an inspiring lecture and then presented the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award to The Book That was Handed Down written by Yixian Quek, illustrated by Grace Duan Ying and designed by Goh Caili.
The inaugural Scholastic Asian Book Award winner was also announced: Uma Krishnaswami. Uma was unable to attend the event so author Pooja Makhijani accepted the award on her behalf. Former Managing Editor of PaperTigers, Aline Pereira, was a member of the judging panel for this award. I’ll post more details about it in the upcoming days as unfortunately it is time right now for me to pack my bags and depart lovely Singapore. However, in the meantime, be sure to read the blog tour for Uma’s new book The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.