Speech by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education, at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, on Wednesday, 3 June 2015 at 6:40 pm at The Pod/National Library Building

Published Date: 03 June 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Book Development Council of Singapore

Mrs Elaine Ng, CEO of the National Library Board

Mr Ramachandran, Executive Director of the Book Council

Ladies and Gentlemen

Introduction

1.Good evening. I would like to start by expressing my appreciation to the National Book Development Council of Singapore for inviting me to the ever-growing Asian Festival of Children’s Content. This is my third year attending the festival, and I am happy to see many familiar faces here.

2.The Asian Festival of Children’s Content is dedicated to promoting and celebrating quality content for children. At Celebrating Our Stars, we honour all those who have strived to make this vision a reality, by highlighting the excellent work of our authors, illustrators and publishers.

Reading to children

3.There are many activities we can do as parents to help our children learn, but few are as simple, inexpensive and effective as reading to them. Personally, I also think it is one of the most enjoyable pastimes that parent and child can share. When parents take time to read to their children, it helps children to discover the joy of reading and bond with their parents. It also helps children to become better readers, as they will build vocabulary and language skills and learn about the world around them.

4.Early parental involvement in reading will go a long way towards helping children become enthusiastic and proficient readers. More importantly, reading will help to open up their minds, and give them a window to explore faraway lands and dream big dreams. For these reasons, we want to support parents with more resources that they can use to build a strong reading habit in their children.

Launch of picture books translated with sponsorship from the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism

5.The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism has partnered the Book Council to create more high-quality children’s books with a Singapore flavour, and make them available not just in English, but in our mother tongue languages.

6.This evening, we will be launching three translated picture books penned by Singapore authors. Sponsored by the Fund, these local titles have been selected by the Book Council for translation into the Chinese, Malay and Tamil Languages.

7.We will continue to grow this partnership. My vision is for our children to enjoy entire shelves of picture books set in Singapore, by Singapore writers, and available in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

Growth of children’s literature in Singapore

8.This is a goal that can be achieved if we keep working at it. First, we already have a considerable body of excellent published work by local authors that await translation or retelling in the various mother tongue languages.

9.Second, the children’s book publishing sector in Singapore is gaining momentum. The number of children’s books written and published by Singaporeans is increasing each year. This suggests greater appreciation for quality children books centered on Asian themes and languages - a common interest we share with participants at each year’s AFCC.

Conclusion

10.I would like to applaud the organiser, the National Book Development Council of Singapore again, for their good work and tireless pursuit in celebrating and developing quality content for children, as well as promoting bilingualism.

11.I wish you a wonderful evening ahead. Thank you.

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