updated 28 Nov 2013, 23:59
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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
The Sunday Times
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by Akshita Nanda

Who: Literature enthusiast Loh Chin Ee, 38, an assistant professor at the National Institute of Education's department of English language and literature.

Dr Loh, 38, edited a new anthology of poetry for children, Little Things, with two fellow educators, NIE assistant professor Angelia Poon and secondary school English teacher Esther Vincent. Little Things was released this month by local publisher Ethos Books and contains 80 poems written by Singaporean and international authors, suitable for children aged 10 to 14.

Dr Loh, who is married to a lawyer, has a four-year-old boy and two-year-old girl.

What are you reading now?

I read a lot of young adult novels because I believe as a teacher you have to be well-read to recommend books to students. One recent young adult novel I read was Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne. It's about a boy and his father during World War I and deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another is The Smartest Kids In The World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley. She looks at three countries, Finland, South Korea and Poland, and their education systems.

She also tracks three kids from America who go to live in each country. She's quite even and balanced, doesn't say everything is good but shows what you can learn from each system.

I went on a splurge during the Singapore Writers Festival recently and bought a lot of Singapore books. I read Balik Kampung 2A, a short story anthology edited by Verena Tay. The story I really loved was the first one, Peace Is A Foot Reflexology Parlour, because it is about finding space and a place to read, which I can relate to.

I am also reading Engine Empire by Cathy Park Hong and love the imaginary worlds spun.

I'm exploring prose poetry as a result of the reading and wondering if I can use it in the classroom.

What book would you save from a burning house?

I suppose a Bible my mother gave me when I was 11 or 12 because I underlined stuff and wrote things in it.

It means something as an artefact because I've invested in it. I go back to it and it reminds me of my own history.

Little Things edited by Loh Chin Ee, Angelia Poon and Esther Vincent (2013, Ethos Books, $17.12) is available at Books Kinokuniya, Select Books and Balik Kampung 2A edited by Verena Tay (2013, Math Paper Press, $23.54) is available at Books Actually and Books Kinokuniya. Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne (2013, Doubleday, $24.50), The Smartest Kids In The World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley (2013, Simon & Schuster, $43.87) and Engine Empire by Cathy Park Hong (2012, W.W. Norton & Co, $44.95) are available at Books Kinokuniya.

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