Asian Stories for Asian Children

SABA-logo_132_173_90The Scholastic Asian Book Award (SABA) is a joint initiative between the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and Scholastic Asia that aims to promote Asian experiences and expression in creative and innovative forms.

This award recognises writers of Asian origin whose manuscripts have the potential to share uniquely Asian experiences of life, spirit, and thinking with the rest of the world.

The SABA is held every two years and the closing date for submissions for the next cycle (SABA 2018) is on 22nd December, 2017. (Download the rules & regulaions and entry form.)

The winner of the prize wins SGD10,000. In addition, his/her manuscript, along with four other shortlisted entries, will be considered for publication by Scholastic Malaysia.

This year saw the publication of books by the winner of SABA 2014, Sophia Lee, and two of the shortlisted authors from that award cycle, Catherine Torres and Xie Shi Min.

Their books are now available in selected bookstores in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. 



saba1aWhat Things Mean by Sophia N. Lee

For Olive Guerrero, different is more than just a word.



 1: Dissimilar, either partially or completely

2: Isolated or separate

3: Diverse or assorted in kind

4: Strange or unusual, apart from all others

What does it mean to be different? Fourteen-year-old Olive is struggling to find out. Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown-skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-coloured beauties who are all popular and ‘good at sports’. It must be she closely resembles her father, whom she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks.

Olive turns to books and other things to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.

saba2aSula’s Voyage by Catherine Torres

Fifteen-year-old Sula has always known she is different. Even though her parents have shown her nothing but love and acceptance, she sees her dark skin as a reminder of how she doesn’t fit in with the rest of her family. What’s worse is she also feels that her parents are hiding something from her.

After getting expelled from school, Sula reluctantly goes to stay with her mother’s friends. There, she unexpectedly finds herself on a journey of self-discovery — a journey that keeps drawing her to the sea.

Sula must not only figure out her parents’ secret, but also just how different, and possibly magical, she really is.

saba3aDragonhearted by Xie Shi Min

Xin Long is like any ordinary ten-year-old girl. She prefers Wushu to studying, likes hanging out with her friends, and loves listening to her Ah Ma’s stories. But when these stories tell of an ancient mythical beast that threatens to destroy the world, Xin Long realises that she is the only one who can stop it.

Can she destroy this evil? As time flies by, Xin Long and her friends —  Shu Ping, Four Eyes, and dragon guardian Xiao Lan — must unlock the secrets of ancient Chinese mythology to find a way to stop the end of the world.

Dragonhearted captures the strength of friendship and shows how stories shape who we are.


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