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New Lease of Life in Local Chinese Children’s Book Publishing?

Due to the changes in education policies and the shrinking domestic demand, the Chinese publishing industry in Singapore has been on a declining trend since the 1970s. It is especially so for the children’s books where the diminishing supply could only be supplemented by imported books from China and Taiwan. However, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for local Chinese children’s book publishing in recent years.

Inside Lianhe Zaobao’s supplement on 26 May 2015 was a full-page article that reported on the vibrant signs of Singapore’s children’s book publishing. The article, titled New Lease of Life in Local Chinese Children’s Book Publishing?, analysed how the government and the civil society have revived the market for Singapore’s Chinese children’s book publishing under the bilingual education policy. The article also included interviews with several local publishers, including Chou Sing Chu Foundation (CSCF), to learn the reasons behind their continuing effort in publishing children’s books.

CSCF’s association with the development of local Chinese children’s books goes a long way back. In the 1950s, the World Book Company founded by Mr Chou Sing Chu was already publishing World Children and World Youth for the children and youths in Southeast Asia. In upholding Mr Chou’s philosophy, CSCF has published the first volume of Sing Chu Children’s Collection in October 2015. Sing Chu Children’s Collection, designed for the lower primary school pupils, consists of four thematic books, namely, I Love Life, I Love to Exercise, I Love My Family, and I Love Animals. The collection aims to fire up our children’s imagination and cultivate moral values in them, thus inspiring growth in their minds through reading.

In addition, CSCF has been conducting Chinese storytelling sessions in different branches of the national library since September 2015. The stories shared in these sessions were taken from the Sing Chu Children’s Collection.

This is just our first step. CSCF will be publishing the second volume of the Sing Chu Children’s Collection soon. We endeavour to achieve our objective of enabling children to learn Chinese through lively and engaging stories.