Cool books for the kids
The holidays are back and if you're a parent (or you know of one) still looking for some way to entertain the young ones or cut down on their screen time and get them to break the mobile device habit, here’s a quick remedy: pick up a book.
Why books? They can entertain you for hours, they're portable, and they don't require electricity or connectivity to work.
With that in mind, we've come up with a book selection for kids of all ages, from pre-schoolers to young adults (and the young at heart too).
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JACK IS CURIOUS SERIES. Good for: Bedtime reading with the young ones
Parent-child bonding is a key part in every young child’s life and the Jack Is Curious series by children’s book author Linda Locke is a great way for parents and children to get that together time. Filled with life lessons told in a fun and easy way, the series looks at the world through the eyes of young Jack, a cheeky and curious boy who lives in Singapore. He always asks challenging questions that his mother has to find creative ways to answer.
In the first book, Will I Grow Old?, Jack is worried when lines appear on Mama's face. In Why Do People Cry When They're Happy?, Jack notices passengers crying at the airport and wonders "don't people cry only when they're sad?"
The third book in the series, Can I Hit Back at a Bully?, focuses on helping young children stand up to adversity. Three big, mean bullies steal Jack’s football while he’s at the playground with his best bud Zac. Since he is learning tae kwon do, Jack asks, "Can I use tae kwon do to hit back at the bullies?" His teacher says no, but Mama has an idea...
WHAT IF DINOSAURS STILL EXISTED? Good for: Curious kids with great imagination; family fun with dinos
What if dinosaurs were alive today? No, this isn't a new Jurassic Park movie. Instead, from author/illustrator Emma De Woot comes this imaginative, humorous and charmingly illustrated book. Young Zoe and Leo are on a trip to the natural history museum where they get to see dinosaurs. Not real ones, of course. They're extinct, but what if, just what if, you could have a pet diplodocus? What would you call it? How would you look after it? This new reprint of the book makes a great read for the family too.
SOFIA AND THE UTOPIA MACHINE. Good for: Teens (and older), or those who like a good fantasy thriller tale
This bestselling novel by award-winning poet Judith Huang is back with a stunning new cover. In the novel, Sofia is an ordinary schoolgirl living in a future Singapore where the population is divided according to your social status. She inadvertently unlocks the gateway to a new world, but the government soon comes after her. While on the run, she meets with the eccentric Uncle Kirk and the resourceful Father Lang and learns the real truth about her father's disappearance. It's an intriguing fantasy adventure that will thrill all YA readers.
THE UNDERSTANDING SINGAPOREANS SERIES. Good for: Everyone!
Is kaya “Eurasian jam”? Why do Muslim women cover their heads? Why do Indians hang mango leaves in doorways? Why do the Chinese eat noodles at wedding dinners? This series of books — Why Do Eurasians Love Sugee Cake?, Why Do Malays Avoid Pork?, Why Do Indians Dot Their Foreheads? and Why Do The Chinese Shout Yam Seng? — answers these questions and more. With its easy question-and-answer style, these four books are great ways to introduce children to the different cultures, communities and customs you see in Singapore. This series also won the Best Young Adult/Middle-Grade gong at the 2018 Singapore Book Awards.
THE BRILLIANT OIL LAMP. Good for: Pre-schoolers and older, and engaging the young ones through creativity and imagination
Asha and her family have to move from their old shophouse to the new HDB flats that are springing up all over Singapore. They're very excited, but one day, there is a power failure and the whole block is plunged into darkness. Luckily, Asha remembers the oil lamp that the family has and puts it to good use. This new story by Quek Hong Shin is the third book in a series that looks back at our heritage and multicultural way of life; and engages children's imagination and creativity by getting them to suggest different uses for simple household objects.
FREDDY THE EAGER FUNDRAISER. Good for: Primary school kids and older, and teaching children the value of money
Moved by the plight of the victims in the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal, young Freddy wants to raise money to help the Red Cross relief efforts. From earning money doing household chores to setting up a lemonade stand, Freddy finds out that raising money is harder than it looks. Inspired by his ukelele-playing younger brother Ray, Freddy calls on his friends, family, and colleagues of his parents to set up a fundraiser/awareness fair within two weeks. But can he do it in time? This entertaining book by Swapnil Mishra not only looks at overcoming challenges but also teaches children the value of helping others and learning the value of money at the same time.