SINGAPORE – A fantasy book tackling the problem of dementia was one of two titles to win the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Prize on Friday (27 May).
Mist-Bound: How To Glue Back Grandpa by Daryl Kho, which was published by Penguin Random House South-east Asia, came out on top in the intermediate category; Lemonade Sky by JH Low, published by Epigram Books, won the picture book category.
The biennial prize, organized by the Singapore Book Council, honors outstanding children’s books written by Singaporeans or permanent residents.
This is the first time there have been two categories of awards since the award’s inception in 2011. Winners took home $3,000 each at a ceremony at the Asian Children’s Content Festival (afcc.com.sg) , which runs until Sunday, May 29. .
Kho, 42, a Malaysian-born, Singapore-based media licensing professional, wrote his first book after his father suffered two strokes and developed vascular dementia. The first stroke occurred three months before the birth of her daughter Alexis, now 12.
Mist-Bound tells the story of Alexis, a girl whose memories of her grandfather have been shattered. She travels to the Land of Mist to gather ingredients for Memory Glue, but must do so before her memories are gone for good.
The idea for the book came to Kho in 2014. The first draft was easy, but it was “real work” after that and he sat on the project for several years. When his father passed away in 2018, it was a wake-up call and he decided he had to finish the book.