More mother tongue language books for children to become available at public libraries and on NLB mobile app, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

More mother tongue language books for children to become available at public libraries and on NLB mobile app

Young children and their parents can soon read more books in the mother tongue languages at public libraries or by using an application on their mobile phones.

Under a new deal agreed between the National Library Board and the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism on Tuesday, more English language children's picture and story books will be translated to Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

Printed books previously funded by the fund will also be converted into e-books as part of the initiative. These e-books will made available for borrowing, too.

Ms Catherine Lau, who is NLB assistant chief executive for the archives and libraries group, said: "Our partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism will help to grow our Singapore collection and nurture a pool of writers of such works."

That, in turn, will help readers learn about Singapore's multicultural heritage and culture, she added.

Ms Zubaidah Mohsen, senior head for Malay Language at NLB, said the grant will help beef up mother tongue language resources for children and parents.

As part of the three-year deal, NLB and the fund will also help support local writers of mother tongue language titles.

This includes allowing writers to use NLB facilities for storytelling sessions for parents and children, as well as book launches.

Their books could also be used for NLB programmes and outreach activities.

NLB declined to disclose the cost of the deal, saying its value included non-financial components.

On Tuesday, four authors became the first recipients of a grant offered under the new initiative.

They will get funding to turn into digital form the books they had written earlier in a mother tongue language - as part of efforts to reach a wider audience.

The four are: Ms Norlin Samat, who wrote Ally's Adventures, Ms Chew Lee Ching, who wrote Baby King And Friends, Ms Hana Mohd, who wrote I Want To Go To Space, and Ms Chen Wei Teng, who wrote Murphy, See How You Shine.

On the sidelines of a ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding between NLB and the fund, Ms Hana Mohd said parents can initiate efforts to motivate children to pick up their mother tongue.

Ms Norlin said: "The young generation do not speak Malay because parents do not speak Malay at home."

The mother of a seven-year-old girl said her book came about as a "result of talking to parents who want to push their children to learn their mother tongue".

NLB separately on Tuesday launched 10 titles translated from English to Chinese, Malay or Tamil. These include The Incredible Basket, Makan Time! and Karang Guni Boy.