Vietnamese children's book wins top award hinh anh 1Two authors Phung Nguyen Quang (L) and Huynh Kim Lien win Scholastic Picture Book Award's Grand Prize 2015 (Source:
A Vietnamese children's book, entitled Cuoc Hanh Trinh Dau Tien (The First Journey), by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien has won Scholastic Picture Book Award's Grand Prize 2015.

The award, launched by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia, aims to foster the creation of picture books with Asian content by Asian writers and illustrators.

The First Journey was written by Quang and illustrated by Lien in two weeks. The story, about the first trip of a boy in the Mekong Delta, beat 135 other books by amateur and established authors.

Going to school on the first day during the Mekong Delta flood season, The First Journey's protagonist faces rain and flood. He has to cross a swamp what is full of crocodiles and snakes. But he is not scared because he knows that wonderful places are waiting for him at the end of the road.

Quang, 26, is a professional author and illustrator of children's books. Lien, 23, is a writer and illustrator of children's books. Both live and work in HCM City. They have cooperated with the global non-profit organisation Room to Read in Vietnam.

They came to know about the award on Facebook and had only two weeks to submit a manuscript.

"We spent two days coming up with the idea, two days to write the story and nine days of intense work," Quang said on

"We really admire writer Son Nam and his books make us love the Mekong Delta. Actually, we've never been there before, but the landscapes felt very familiar."

Winning the first prize was beyond their dreams because the four other shortlisted rivals are talented people.

"The judges said we won because our story was not only friendly towards children, but offered them a new world to discover," they said in an interview with

Quang and Lien were awarded 10,000 SGD (7,000 USD) and a plaque. The first runners-up were Indonesia's Ary Nilandari and Dewi Tri K, while the second runners-up were Mongolia's Ganbaatar Ichinnorov and Bolormaa Baasansuren.-VNA