Out and About in Singapore by Melanie Lee (+ a giveaway)

I was in Singapore recently to speak at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content and was incredibly fortunate to meet Melanie Lee. Melanie was not only the moderator of one of my panels, but is also a children’s book author, a journalist, a multimedia project creator, and a teacher of media writing. She’s also a tea connoisseur and treated me to a delicious tea tasting experience at SILK Tea Bar. For young readers who want to know more about the small-but-awesome country that is Singapore, Melanie has written OUT AND ABOUT IN SINGAPORE, a fantastic picture book/travel guide, illustrated by William Sim.

OUT AND ABOUT IN SINGAPORE is a 64-page picture book that I’d categorize as Browsable Nonfiction, according to Melissa Stewart’s classification system for nonfiction. There are short blocks of descriptive text, allowing the reader to either read the book in a linear fashion or to skip around if they want to. Gorgeous colored-pencil spot art accompanies each block of text. The illustrations are vibrant, colorful, and detailed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the buildings are drawn to scale.

Lee’s engaging text includes information about Singapore’s history, arts, culture, food, religions, languages, environment, and landmarks. There are also fun factoids and even several simple crafts for young readers (and parents & educators!) who like hands-on activities to bolster learning, such as weaving a decoration that celebrates the ketupat, a rice dumpling wrapped in woven leaves.

I loved poring over this book — my only regrets are not having read it before my trip and not being able to extend my stay so I could visit each one of the places it features! There is also a companion book by Lee and Sim titled OUT AND ABOUT IN SINGAPORE 2, which covers its many beautiful outdoor spaces. Despite the country’s small size (half the size of London, according to the book), there is a ton of stuff to do, see, eat, and experience! (Although one thing I won’t be doing is bungee-jumping, which my son did and loved. From a 17-story-high platform. No thank you!)

I’d much rather go fly a kite or kayak at the Marina Barrage. And definitely visit the National Library again, where the conference was held. Here’s a photo of one of the rooms in the children’s section, which has a marine biodiversity theme. It just opened this past January so I’m excited to have seen it!

Whether or not you’re able to visit Singapore in person, I highly recommend both OUT AND ABOUT IN SINGAPORE books. They’re windows into a fascinating multicultural, multilingual, and multidimensional country. Find out more about author Melanie Lee here and illustrator William Sim here, and follow them on Instagram at @melanderings and @merchantofhappiness. Giveaway for US readers: I’m happy to offer one copy of OUT AND ABOUT IN SINGAPORE. Please comment below to enter.

Melanie Lee is a writer and lecturer. She is the author of the award-winning picture book series The Adventures of Squirky the Alien. She is also the author of Imaginary Friends:26 Whimsical Fables for Getting on in a Crazy World.

William Sim is a graduate of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He has experimented with various media and exhibited his works regionally. He is also the illustrator behind the popular Coloring the Lion City series as well as Botanical Singapore.

Andrea Wang

Andrea Wang is an acclaimed author of children’s books. Her book Watercress was awarded the Caldecott Medal, a Newbery Honor, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Her other books, The Many Meanings of Meilan, Magic Ramen, and The Nian Monster, have also received awards and starred reviews. Her work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Colorado with her family and pandemic pup, Tupelo.


  1. Angie Quantrell

    How beautiful! I would love to visit Singapore! And have tea. 🙂 Congratulations to Melanie and William!

  2. What a great book idea! Can’t wait to read it.

  3. What an interesting place.

  4. Thank you, Andrea, for introducing me to Melanie Lee and William Sim.

    OUT AND ABOUT IN SINGAPORE looks like a beautiful book. The illustrations capture my attention.

  5. What a wonderful book…thank you for sharing!

  6. danielle hammelef

    The art is stunning! I can’t wait to read this book and travel to Singapore. Books like this one are fascinating.

  7. Wow! Sounds awesome! What a project!

  8. This looks like an interesting book about Singapore. The illustrations complement the text.

  9. What a FASCINATING book!

  10. Book looks great! Such great artwork!

  11. How neat this book exists! I’ve been to Singapore’s AFCC when my manuscript was shortlisted. Beautiful country, & I had fun roaming around!

  12. Singapore is on my travel bucket list. This book looks like a good place to start. It’s not listed in my library. I’ll request that they get a copy.

  13. How beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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