I didn’t plan to submit a picture book manuscript but when my BFF, Evi Shelvia, suggested that I send mine, it was only a few days away. It took me 3 days (had at least 2 hours sleep each day) to prepare the manuscript and 5 sample illustrations, and hurriedly submit just a day before the closing date. I chose to retell a folktale about a Rooster as I was born in the Year of Rooster.
Serendipity happens. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, right? It’s true. I got the news that I was shortlisted for the award! I believe The Year of Rooster gives me good luck.
Here’s the synopsis of the manuscript: A long time ago, the Jade Emperor had the power to select the Zodiac Animals. Only the strongest, kindest, most noble animals were chosen. Only animals with a special gift can become a Zodiac Animal. Rooster really, REALLY wanted to be chosen, but what was his special gift? And so Rooster sat down and thought about the other zodiac animals. What was so special about them? So he studied them one by one. Each of them is special in their own way. Rooster thought and thought, and then it came to him. His gift was his golden voice.
I am glad that I represented Malaysia to be shortlisted for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award (SPBA) that was announced last April 17th, 2018 by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event in Singapore.
The award is presented biennially to an outstanding unpublished picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer and illustrator team of Asian descent living in Asia. As well as a $10,000 cash prize, the winning book will also be published by Scholastic Asia. SPBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Scholastic Asia, the world’s largest children’s books publishing and distribution company.
There was a total of 137 entries from all over Asia, including Bhutan, Singapore, the Philippines, Iran, China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist, each from a different country.
The winner of the 2017 SPBA will be announced during Opening Night of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) on 16 May, and will be presented by the evening’s Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Leader of the House, Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien.
- Aytul Akal, Mavisel Yener, Kubra Nur Ozkececi, and Yasemin Yener: The Flying Grandpa, Turkey
- Emila Yusof: How Rooster Became the Zodiac Animal, Malaysia.
- Ho Jia En, Sabrine Ong, Shona Menon, Wong Shu Jing, and Melodie James: The Little Durian Tree, Singapore.
- Anuradha Ananth Huggler and Shailja Jain Chougule: Poorni and Her Peepal Leaf, India.
- Maria Karina: Putri The Treasure of Kancil, Indonesia.
- Le Thi Bich Khoa: The Whale Whisperer, Vietnam.
You can read the full news here: National Book Development Council of Singapore shorts lists 6 entries for 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award (SPBA).