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Asian Children’s Literature

Asian Children’s Literature

Singapore - National Library Board, Singapore (NLB)


The Historical Asian Children’s Collection (1890 – 1990) within the Asian Children’s Literature (ACL) Collection was developed in the 1960s at the National Library Singapore to raise the awareness and understanding of Asian-centric children’s literature. From an initial collection comprising mainly children’s literature of British or American origin written by Western authors, the collection was later developed by local children’s librarians to reflect Asian children, backgrounds, and communities in the four official languages of Singapore – English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.

Besides raising the profile of Asian stories, writers and illustrators, this collection also sought to draw links to Singapore’s rich multi-cultural heritage and historical connections to China, India and Southeast Asia. It is reflective of Asian cultural and literary heritage, which contains folk tales, fairy tales, myths and legends and selected non-fiction, involving largely materials depicting customs and socio-cultural practices and beliefs.

In the late 20th century, this collection was the only known research collection of children’s books in English in the region. In view of its long historical development and unique heritage status, this collection was curated as a special collection meant for reference and research in 2005.

This collection contains rich and diverse content, interesting illustrations and unique formats and would be an important heritage collection that needs to be preserved for future generations.




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