Project Splash! Asia
|Date:||25 – 30 May 2012|
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|Date:||25 – 30 May 2012|
I signed on for the inaugural Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) in Singapore in 2010, attracted by the red paper airplane flying across “Asian Content for the World’s Children”. I love paper airplanes, and I was curious where this one would take me. I was welcomed by an amazing gathering of people who treasured the joy of reading and its power to inspire and teach, and shared the dream to empower our children in Singapore, and around the world, by setting their imagination free. I have been attending AFCC every year since!
This Festival is the only programme of its kind in Asia, and probably the world, organised annually by the National Book Development Council of Singapore that brings together content creators and producers with parents, teachers, librarians and anyone interested in quality Asian content for children around the world.
One of the many unique features of the Festival is the four conferences, each for teachers, parents, writers and illustrators, and media professionals; and the Media Mart. It includes a wonderful collection of Asian picture books and books for young readers that you can browse through, buy, or add to your list of books to look for in the public library, and enjoy informal conversations about favourite books while you browse. A few of us thought it would be a great project to gather children’s picture books from across Asia on one common theme. The first picture and idea that splashed across our minds was WATER!
Water features in folklore, myths and legends that are part of our heritage in Asia. Water has played an important part in our history, culture. It is a most precious resource in our every day lives. Water is a universal theme that has inspired the imagination and creativity of children and adults alike for centuries everywhere in the world, and 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
And so we embarked on Project Splash! Asia to collect children’s picture books with Asian content and water as a central theme. We discovered wonderful books in the National Library. Many AFCC partners and supporters contributed stories. The passionate women behind Gathering Books and PaperTigers blogs volunteered to help to gather titles and review the books.
A collection of about 50 selected books will be exhibited at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, AFCC2013, and the new titles will be donated to the National Library Board after the Festival. A review of the collection and bibliography of over 100 books will be published and launched together with the collection at the Festival. There will also be a special session during the Festival to share what we have learned from these stories. The bibliography, prepared in collaboration with the National Library, will be a resource for parents, teachers and libraries that will not only spark the imagination, creativity and pure joy of reading, but also inspire children to value the importance of water in our lives, to think about the challenges faced by children and families around the world, and to want to learn what we can do to make a difference.
When we shared the water-themed project we would be doing for AFCC2013 last year, the Singapore National Cooperative Federation (SNCF) welcomed us to join in a mass reading of “A Very Big Storm” written by Singapore children’s author Emily Lim, in celebration of International Year of the Cooperative Movement . The event, organised in collaboration with NTUC Seed Institute, NLB and 10,000 Fathers Reading, was a sight to behold and music to the ears! Coincidentally, water features in 3 of the 4 stories commissioned by SNCF to creatively and subtly teach children about the core values of the cooperative movement.
We were welcomed to contribute to the PUB Primary School Water Festival which aims to engage children in a fun way to treasure water and do their part to protect and conserve this precious resource, and collaborated with NLB to feature water-themed books. Children loved the story-telling session with “Little Otter Goes Fishing” by Emily Lim. Inspired by the children’s response, PUB’s H2O Competition this year will invite primary students to write their own stories, and we are looking forward to the winning stories and young Singapore writers.
Books drawn from Project Splash! Asia will provide a platform to engage students on the importance of water. We will also be linking to an online sustainability challenge created by Earthcheck and the Singapore Polytechnic that emphasises the practical aspects of sustainable conservation.
Besides the stories by Emily Lim, what will the collection and bibliography include? Will you and your children be interested in these stories? Do you like paper airplanes? Come join us at AFCC2013 for the launch of Project Splash! Asia, and let your imagination soar!
Some titles that will be included in the Project Splash! Asia Collection of Children’s Picture Books
“A Very Big Storm” and “Little Otter Goes Fishing” by award-winning Singaporean children’s author, Emily Lim
“The Water Dragon – A Chinese Legend” retold in English and Chinese by Li Jian, the first book featured in PaperTigers online Illustrators Gallery from its Water theme Multicultural Children’s Books
“Wave” by internationally acclaimed Korean-American artist, Suzy Lee
Download a pdf copy of the Splash! Asia annotated bibliography here.