Straits Times Press book on polar bear Inuka wins children category of Popular award

The One And Only Inuka was written by former deputy editor of The Straits Times Alan John and illustrated by Mr Quek Hong Shin. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The One And Only Inuka, an homage to Singapore Zoo's much-loved polar bear which died last year, is the favourite English children book this year.

The book remembers Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, "with love and fond memories", said Popular bookstore, which announced the results of its annual Popular Readers' Choice Awards on Saturday (Dec 7).

The book was written by former deputy editor of The Straits Times Alan John and illustrated by Mr Quek Hong Shin.

The award, now in its eighth year, aims to recognise local authors, with winners selected based on a public vote from Aug 16 to Oct 27.

Secrets of Singapore: Changi Airport, as well as Sherlock Sam And The Mysterious Mastermind In Seoul came in second and third respectively in the English children's category.

Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story won the first prize in the English adult book category.

Written by former Straits Times news editor Peh Shing Huei, the book traces the "improbable" rise to office of former prime minister Goh Chok Tong, with the title making a pun on his "imposing height most unusual in this part of the world", Popular said.

On winning the top prize, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh said he was "heartened that Singaporeans are interested in the stories of our nation-building" and that a second volume is already in the works.

The second prize went to Seven Hundred Years: A History Of Singapore by historians Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg and Tan Tai Yong.

Third place in the category went to Can Singapore Fall?: Making The Future For Singapore by Mr Lim Siong Guan. The book seeks to tell Singaporeans what to do to prevent the country's economic and social decline, taking the form of edited versions of three lectures the former head of civil service gave in 2017. It also highlights his dialogue with the audience.

Mr Lim, who is now a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said: "Almost all problems can be effectively tackled in poor countries by driving for economic growth. But rich countries need to actively address the social challenges that arise from the market economy.

"I would be very happy if my book causes Singaporeans to think deeply about the direction Singapore has to take."

The Chinese category winner is It's This Class 6 by Mr Weng Tianbao, a comic book which draws inspiration from children's words and behaviour.

All nominated titles for the award are available at the ongoing BookFest @ Singapore held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre until next Sunday.

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