Children’s books about Singapore: local stories to add to your kid’s reading list

Looking for a bedtime story with a familiar setting? We round up the best books for kids that tell stories about Singapore!

Looking for some new stories for your little bookworm that take them on a literary adventure through Singapore? Head down to your local bookstore or library and add some local reads into the mix: these tales are sure to have the little ones squealing with delight when they recognise their home city and all the things we love about it… and you’re bound to discover something new about The Lion City too!

Want even more book recommendations for kids? Don’t miss our favourite books for babies and toddlers, and our pick of classic kids’ fiction.

Playtime With Ye Ye by Pauline Loh
This sweet and simple story about Boy Boy’s relationship with his grandpa, Ye Ye, takes place entirely in their living room, where the two play a game of dress-ups one afternoon. Through the power of Ye Ye’s storytelling and Boy Boy’s imagination, the readers get glimpses of this grandfather’s great milestones – and Singapore’s history. From Ye Ye’s arrival in Singapore by boat, to living through the Japanese occupation to independence and all the way to a fun day out at the Grand Prix together, this is the story of Singapore’s evolution. Written in rhyme, this is a lovely book to read out loud – it introduces children to Singapore’s momentous moments, but perhaps most importantly, Playtime with Ye Ye is about keeping family memories alive. A nostalgic read for parents who’ve grown up in Singapore, but just as poignant for families who have come from abroad, Playtime with Ye Ye is a lovely reminder of the depth of experience of our grandparents – and just how much we can learn from them.

Jayden & Janelle series by Seema Dadlani and Harsha Dadlani
This fun series of six titles was written by sisters Seeema and Harsha, and stars five-year-old Jayden and his little sister, three-year-old Janelle. These two cuties live in Marine Parade with their parents and grandparents, and the stories follow them in their life in Singapore through HDB estates, chicken rice dinners, Gardens by the Bay and their fave dessert, ice-kacang. Aimed at pre-schoolers, the books embrace strong Singaporean identities and values, and the colourful illustrations will have the little ones page turning time-and-time again.

The Jayden and Janelle series is penned by sisters Seema and Harsha Dadlani and follows the adventures of two young Singaporean siblings.
Sally Roydhouse's beautifully designed book, Find and Seek Singapore, is the perfect keepsake
Beloved local author David Seow and his regular illustrator Soefara Jafney create books you'll want to collect.
This beautiful illustration by Alpana Ahuja is from Shamini Flint's book, Sasha Visits the Botanic Gardens
Makan Time is a bilingual favourite by Sharon Ismail
James Lee's Mister Midnight series outsells the Harry Potter books here in Singapore!

Find and Seek Singapore by Sally Roydhouse
The concept of this beautiful book was sparked by Australian Sally Roydhouse’s desire to create a keepsake of her own family’s time in Singapore. Little adventurers will love being taken around The Lion City with the book’s protagonist: a little boy with a huge spirit of wonder, who has just arrived in Singapore. Rediscover fave local hang-outs along the way, and get caught up in the colourful, educational verse that will make this book a hit for the whole family. Want to know more? Check out HoneyKids’ detailed review of Hide and Seek Singapore.

Pura the Cat by Tan Soon Meng
If the kiddos are mad for cats then this is a great choice for animal-loving littlies by Tan Soon Meng. Follow Pura the super cute cat who lives as a stray on Boat Quay with her besties Bhavana, Mei and Dexter. Life is pretty purr-fect for Pura until one day she is spotted by someone who realises she is a rare Singapura breed, and that catching her can make him a quick dollar or two! This heartwarming tale is a must for feline fans, as well as for any child who loves stories about friendship and heroism!

Sam, Sebi and Di-Di-Di Series by David Seow
Penned by well-known and well-loved local children’s book writer David Seow, the Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series follows Singaporean siblings on their adventures together around the Lion City. With five tales already featuring in the series, we particularly love A Day With The Duchess, which features a very special royal star in its tale – plus an adorable hamster for a whole lot of cuteness factor. Treat yourself and the kiddos to the whole series of books, which are not only gorgeously written, but also beautifully illustrated (by Soefara Jafney). You’ll go on a fun journey around Singapore without having to leave home!

Sasha in Singapore Series by Shamini Flint
These stories about a little girl called Sasha Singapore make the perfect literary keepsake of your little one’s childhood in Singapore. Sasha heads to all the fun places we love to visit with the fam, from the Botantic Gardens to Sentosa Island (and everywhere in between!) and not only are these books fun to read, they also serve as great guide books for kids on the Little Red Dot! Shamini Flint is the author of the endearing Inspector Singh series for adults – love her work!

Makan Time by Sharon Ismail
Way up on the ‘best things about Singapore’ list would have to be food! This wonderful story follows Sarah and her Grandpa as they set about filling their tummies around Singapore with local delights such as Nasi Lemak and Roti Prata. This is a bilingual picture book for pre-schoolers and the kiddos will love the activities at the end of the book, as well as being introduced to a host of delicious dishes to try!

Mr Midnight Series by James Lee
For the slightly older kiddos in the family, the Mr Midnight series by James Lee has been running here in Singapore since 1998 and has a whopping 89 titles and counting! Each book contains not one, but two ghoulish stories to satisfy even the most voracious bookworms. These mild-horror books, with titles such as My Mad Maid, There’s a Witch in my Watch, and My Class Vampire, are a total hit with the over-sevens, and are all set in and around Singapore. Ghosts in Bishan, vampires in Tampines, and zombies in Serangoon are sure to have your primary school kids engrossed and demanding all 89 books to devour! Mr Lee has certainly (body) bagged this genre of kids’ literature: incredibly, he has outsold JK Rowling and her Harry Potter series here in Singapore and in Malaysia!

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

Chapter books to read with the kids
Best libraries for kids in Singapore
How to get your book published in Singapore
Toddler books we love
We review Island of Caldera