Here’s a novel idea: Swap out some screen time for a book or two this school holiday.
You might have just as much fun browsing these imaginative kids books as your kid will have reading them! These 10 story books were curated by recommendations from top primary and kindergarten international schools around Singapore.
Ready? Set? Read!
1. I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness, by Susan Verde
“I appreciate the simplicity of this book that helps young minds to understand the concept of peace.” – Johanna Krijnsen, Head of Learning Resources, German European School Singapore (GESS)
Even for a little child, the world can feel chaotic. This kids book explores the beauty of mindfulness, through emotional expression, empathy, imagination and the natural world. With cute illustrations and peaceful writing, this is a great resource for your child to start practicing mental wellness at an early age.
For kids aged 4-8. Available on Amazon.
2. The Sherlock Sam Series, by A.J Low
“Adan Jimenez and Felicity Low-Jimenez are the husband and wife team who bring Samuel Tan Cher Lock (a.k.a. Sherlock Sam), his sidekick Watson and the Supper Club to life. This series is a great introduction to mystery novels and gives young readers a chance to use clues and their problem-solving skills. The bonus is you get a little thrill of recognition every time you have a glimpse of a famous spot in SG!” – Melissa Cooper, Primary Teacher Librarian, Canadian International School
This mystery series is gripping whilst humorous, following the tales of Samuel Tan Cher Lock, Singapore’s greatest kid detective. A great read for kids who love adventure!
For kids aged 8-12. Available on Epigram Bookshop.
3. Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide, by Emma Yarlett
“This interactive book is filled with lift-the-flaps, peek-through holes and amazing facts about dinosaurs. We read it in school in a couple of readings, as it’s a pretty long book, and it gives us time to savour it. We also use it to create our dinosaurs by drawing or recycled materials.” – Jeannette Yeo, Deputy Head and Class Teacher of the Toucans (Kindergarten), Swallows and Amazons
Packed with interactive life-the-flaps and peek-through holes, this is a fun read through will your little one. Plus, you can learn more about cool dinosaur facts!
For kids aged 5-6. Available on Amazon.
4. Up From the Sea, by Leza Lowitz
“This novel-in-verse is about how one teen boy survives the March 2011 tsunami that devastates his coastal Japanese village. It truly demonstrates how hope and perseverance can overcome adversity.” – Kim Klein, Head Librarian, Stamford American International School
This heart-warming book are for older kids looking for an inspirational read. Following a disastrous event in his lifetime, Kai goes on a trip to New York to find kids whose lives were changed by 9/11 and meet his estranged American father.
For kids aged 14-16. Available on Amazon.
5. Baditude! What to do When Your Life Stinks! by Julia Cook
“This books shows children ways to look at the positives in life and do away with their negative attitudes. In doing so, they can change their ‘baditude’ to gratitude! Helpful tips for parents and educators are also included.” – Cindy Pat Thomas, Curriculum Specialist, Kinderland Preschool
Yes, a book about the classic attitude – or batitude – that every kid goes through some point. Julia Cook’s story book offers ways for kids to learn how to cheer up!
For kids aged 5-8. Available on Amazon.
6. Refugee, by Alan Gratz
“This novel is a powerful story of the refugee experience throughout time, and will build empathy and develop an understanding of historical contexts.” – Kim Klein, Head Librarian, Stamford American International School
Follow the stories of refugee children throughout history with unimaginable danger – from bombings to betrayals. From Josef is a Jewish boy fleeing from Nazi Germany, to Isabel is a Cuban girl seeking refuge away from the riots in 1994, and Mahmoud is a Syrian boy trekking toward Europe in 2015 as is homeland is destroyed by war. Gratz show a humanist and empathetic view towards the plight of refugees throughout time.
For kids aged 8-12. Available on Amazon.
7. The Goldfish Boy, by Lisa Thompson
“Matthew, the main character, has severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and is caught up in solving a mystery when a young child goes missing on his street. The story is heart-breaking and page-turning, as the reader tries to solve the mystery along with Matthew. It will be enjoyed by all who enjoy stories that explore children who are struggling to fit in.” – Sarah Mounsey, Teacher Librarian, Junior School, Dulwich College (Singapore)
This is a kids book about finding friendship through times of loneliness and fear. If your child has read the popular, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, they will love this one too.
For kids aged 10-14. Available on the Book Depository.
8. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
“‘Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy…’ So, begins this beautifully written and illustrated story. It is one of my favourites to read, as it is a great way for children to learn the gift of giving and love with nothing asked for or expected from them in return.” – Jeannette Yeo, Deputy Head and Class Teacher of the Toucans (Kindergarten), Swallows and Amazons
The ever so classic and popular, The Giving Tree, is a favourite kids books that is recognised by everyone. Shel Silverstein has written a moving parable that teaches about the meaning of gifts and accepting love.
For kids aged 5-6. Available on Amazon.
9. RunHideSeek Trilogy, by Gabby Tye
“Gabby is a Singaporean teenage author with her first book published at the age of 15. She will inspire other young, would-be writers with her exciting dystopian trilogy set in Singapore in 2037.” – Linda Twitchett, Head of Libraries, Australian International School
Step into the disastrous dystopian future of Singapore, where a a virus of some sort has killed off every living thing, except humans. Follow the story of survival of a 15-year-old girl with no memory of who she is. But her and her friends realise this are changing amongst humans.
10. The Monty Bear Books, by Belinda Trewartha and Rebecca Hamer
For many expat families, a nomadic lifestyle is a constant – something former Stamford American International School colleagues Belinda Trewartha and Rebecca Hamer realised after many discussions about the life changes that expat kids go through and the few available resources to help them process it all.
So, they combined their love for early years literacy with the classroom teddies they had used to teach social and emotional skills to create the Monty Bear books. The stories show Monty Bear solving riddles as he explores new countries, which aims to expose children to different locations, languages and cultures.
“We wanted to empower children with the skills to embrace change. It was important to us to create a resource that promoted international-mindedness for children, regardless of where they lived, or what their background was,” explains Rebecca. Each book identifies lifelong skills that empower children to be more emotionally self-aware and resilient,” says Belinda.
There’s also a Monty Bear plush for kids to use as a tool to “share their feelings, worries and adventures.”
Available on Monty Bear.
By Hazel Vincent De Paul for The Finder Kids Vol. 23, June 2018 / Last updated by Isabel Wibowo, September 2021