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  • Vivian Teo

5 highlights to check out with your kid at AFCC 2024

From workshops to storytelling sessions to book launches, there are lots of fun and interesting activities to check out with your kid at this year's Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC)!

Asian Festival of Children's Content AFCC 2024
Photo: AFCC website

I often get asked by parents what are some of the ways they can nurture the writer in their child. Other than reading, I encourage parents to let their children attend writing workshops and author talks. Workshops can help hone their craft, while author talks are great opportunities for them to learn more about writing and publishing, and also inspire them to read and write. (Up till now, I find that I'm still learning from talks by fellow writers, whether it's about the writing process or the publishing industry!)

There are two festivals I tell parents to look out for every year and they are the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) and the Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC). This year, there's another festival to look out for - the Singapore Children's Book Festival (SCBF) happening 21-23 June 2024. Hopefully when more details are out, I'd be able to share about it in my blog. But for now, let's talk about the AFCC that is happening soon on 23-26 May 2024!

Even if your child is not an aspiring writer, this is still a great festival to take your child to to encourage them to read and enjoy the fun programmes, many of which are free. Some require a festival pass, which will let you have access to even more programmes. Price of a festival pass costs S$40-220 depending on the number of days you're going. There are also concession tickets for students and seniors. See AFCC website on how to purchase a Festival Pass.

The venue for AFCC is at Singapore's National Library Building at 100 Victoria Street. If you haven't check out the newly-renovated Central Library, this is also a good time to do so while you're there!

Here are 5 highlights at this year's AFCC that you need to take your kid to:

1) Workshops

Not all the listed programmes have age recommendations so I've picked out those I reckoned are suitable for children 12 years and younger based on their descriptions.

23 May (Thu), 230pm – 4pm: Let's Paint a World Together workshop with Bea Mandapat, Danielle Florendo. Venue: NLB, Country Booth. Free.

Dive into a world of colour and creativity with our vibrant basic watercolour workshop for budding Picassos ages 6-12! In this collaborative activity, kids will learn the secrets of blending, shading, and colour mixing in painting the natural world. They will learn how to paint elements from the storybook MORE, by award-winning book creators Danielle Florendo and Bea Mandapat. Kids will work together to make a team painting. Roll up your sleeves, grab a paint brush, and join in the fun!

23 May (Thu), 430pm – 6pm: We need a hero! A Green Superhero! workshop with Louisa Joanne Lee. Venue: NLB, Central Library Programme Room 1. Festival Pass required.

Green Superheroes for a Better World: A brief survey of the Green Superheroes & how to create a Superhero of the Environment and the creatures living in our world. This interactive workshop empowers participants to create, activate, and present their own Green Superheroes.

24 May (Fri), 1130am – 1pm: Green Pea Monster Poetry Workshop with Sara Patricia Kelly. Venue: NLB, L5, Imagination Room. Festival Pass required.

Green Superheroes for a Better World: A brief survey of the Green Superheroes & how to create a Superhero of the Environment and the creatures living in our world. This interactive workshop empowers participants to create, activate, and present their own Green Superheroes.

25 May (Sat), 130pm – 3pm: Mom’s Best Playdough Activities: Wild Animals workshop with Mary Ann Ordinario. Venue: NLB, Country Booth. Free.

Discover the magic of clay with our playful activity book, suited for both kids and the young at heart. Join Mary Ann Ordinario as she unveils a barnyard full of fun that showcases a variety of farm animals through exciting playdough adventures!

2) Storytelling sessions

Here are the storytelling sessions with fun activities included.


25 May (Sat), 10am – 11am: Walk the Philippines! An Interactive Storytelling Tour for Families with Charisse Aquino-Tugade, Noesis Marquez, Virgie Nicodemus. Venue: NLB, Country Booth. Free.

Step into the vibrant streets of the Philippines with our interactive storytelling tour right smack in the middle of the Singapore National Library. This unforgettable journey through the heart and soul of our enchanting archipelago will be told one book and one icon at a time. Open for families and young children.

25 May (Sat), 1130am – 1230pm: The Emperor’s Gazillion New Toys storytelling session with Janice Khoo, Lianne Ong. Venue: NLB, Central Library Submarine Room. Free.

Get yourself a new toy and reduce waste at the same time! Join authors Lianne Ong and Janice Khoo for a storytelling session where they will read their latest book, The Emperor's Gazillion New Toys. Then get busy and make your very own toy using recycled material and lots of imagination!

25 May (Sat), 1pm – 2pm: Open Mic for Young Content Creators. Venue: NLB, L1 Plaza. Free.

Let curiosity spark your creativity at this open mic for kids aged 6–12! Dive into a world of wonder as you share your original poetry, stories, and more. Dress up as your favorite book character and unleash your inner creative self on stage as you captivate the audience with your tales of curiosity and discovery. Join us for a literary exploration and let your curiosity lead the way!

25 May (Sat), 130pm – 230pm: The Little Mermaid Saves Our Seas storytelling session with Pauline Loh. Venue: NLB, Central Library Submarine Room. Free.

Join in for this storytelling of a brand-new book called Once Upon a Green World - The Little Mermaid Saves Our Seas. After the story, help the storyteller to save our seas by identifying evil invaders and put them back where they belong!

26 May (Sun), 1030am – 1130am: 4 a.m. Raspberry Party with Teddy storytelling session with Sara Patricia Kelly. Venue: NLB, L1 Plaza. Free.

Bring your favourite teddy bear and join us for a fun-tastic 4 a.m. Raspberry Party! Sara Patricia Kelly will read selected poems from her book, 4 a.m. Raspberry Party: Childhood Poems. Together, we will sing, dance, and experience the magic of poetry. The event will include a teddy bear parade, raspberry treats, and a discussion about poetry for curious young minds. This event is for children 2 to 6 years old and their caregivers. Participants will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book at the end.

26 May (Sun), 2pm – 3pm: The Pencil Who Could Not Write storytelling session with Evangeline Encabo, Mary Ann Ordinario. Venue: NLB, Country Booth. Free.

Hear the fascinating tale of The Pencil Who Could Not Write! Experience the world of Ms. Yellow Pencil who does not want to write as she wants to stay sharp and tall, and keep her beautiful yellow skin forever. What terrible thing happened to her that she pleaded to be able to write again!?

3) Book launches

Book launches are great for meeting the authors who wrote your favourite books and learn about how the books came about. Even if you haven't read these books, it's always a good to hear and learn more about new books that may interest your child. I counted a total of at least 16 book launches happening over 23-26 May. I won't replicate the list from AFCC, so please see AFCC for the full list of launches but here are some that I'm looking forward to including books I've read and reviewed!


23 May (Thu), 11am – 12pm: How to be Human Series by Zed Yeo, Tan Yi Lin, Nicolette Lee. Venue: NLB, L1 Plaza. Free.

The six books in the How to be Human picture book series follows Starr and Tigo, two curious kid aliens on Earth learning what it means to be an awesome human being. Join them on their exciting adventures full of fun and heart as they learn what it means to be respectful, responsible, caring, confident, harmonious and resilient!

24 May (Fri), 530pm – 7pm: New Titles from Epigram Books. Venue: NLB, L1 Plaza. Free.

Charlie the Sweeper by Sarah Ang (530pm-615pm)

Charlie the sweeper discovers that he’s amazing. Meet Charlie, a cheerful sand crab who delights in sweeping the beach. But when he encounters extraordinary creatures like a vaulting conch snail, a travelling sea krait and a nesting hawksbill turtle, he begins to doubt his self-worth. Fortunately, a friendly tern arrives to help him discover his unique qualities. A heartwarming tale about self-discovery and empowerment.

Shelby and Mona by Janice Khoo (530pm-615pm)

Join Shelby the snail and Mona, an emerging butterfly, as their friendship reaches new heights. Shelby excitedly observes Mona’s transformation from a chrysalis to a butterfly while fondly sharing memories of their friendship. When Mona takes flight, Shelby longs to be with her. Thanks to a caring gardener, Shelby reunites with his best friend. A wonderfully illustrated book about remarkable transformations and enduring companionship.

The Travelling Library Chronicles of Maizey Lee: The Road to Bangkok by Erni Salleh (615pm-7pm)

The Travelling library chronicles of Maizey Lee Erni Salleh

Hear from the author about the inspiration for the story and her experience working in a mobile library. More about the story here.

25 May (Sat), 1130am – 1230pm: Little Hero by Emily Lim-Leh. Venue: NLB, L1 Plaza. Free.

Little Hero Emily Lim Leh

Little Hero is a fictional tale of separation, loss and growing up in post-war 1940s Singapore, seen through the eyes of a young boy Ying Xiong. As Xiong makes one friend, encounters a fearsome gangster and a brave police inspector, he comes to realise the meaning of 'hero', which his name Ying Xiong means. Little Hero is inspired by real events in the lives of the author’s family.

26 May (Sun), 130pm – 230pm: One of Us: Short of Nothing by Ames Chen and Quek Hong Shin. Venue: NLB, L1 Plaza. Free.

Many things changed for Toby in the new school year: his teachers, his classmates and... himself. When he becomes the shortest student in class, Toby struggles knowing

that this is the tallest he will ever be. It's a bumpy journey of growth for Toby, his teachers and his friends.

See AFCC's website for full list of book launches.

4) Interactive exhibitions

I also spy a number of interesting and interactive exhibitions happening over the four days at the Plaza of NLB. This includes:

Story Worlds

Students from the Puttnam School of Film & Animation at LASALLE College of the Arts were challenged to create miniature Story Worlds inspired by prompts and synopses of children’s books. These tiny worlds were created based on short extracts from the 2024 Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award shortlist or extracts from the AFCC GIF-Book Cover Competition.

Story Crafters: A Quest of Our Own

This is a self-guided build-your-own-story experience, facilitated by prompts for story writing. Immerse in storytelling magic in our interactive pods! Create a unique tale with your child through the characters and plotlines from favourites like "Cakap Mila! Cakap!", "Saving Mani Island” and "Akiva". Learn story writing basics, craft a personalised soundtrack and bring home a copy of your unique tale in Story Crafters.

Wimmelbooks Exhibitions

Embark on a journey through the enchanting world of wimmelbooks at The Whole World on One Page exhibitions, featuring selections of wimmelbooks from the International Youth Library, Munich, alongside a curated collection of Asian wimmelbooks. You can also create your own AFCC wimmelbook at the collaborative drawing station and don't miss the opportunity to discover the works of international and local illustrators reflecting on "My Day at AFCC" at the artist signing board!

More details of the exhibitions at AFCC website.

5) Book Fair

The AFCC Book Fair will also be happening at the NLB Plaza during 23-26 May. Every year I look forward to shopping at the book fair as there would be a wide variety books available at the booths of publishers and book vendors. This is definitely a not-to-be-missed book fair!

If you have tweens and teens who are aspiring writers, there are also talks and workshops about writing and illustrating that they can attend. For instance, if they are interested in creating picture books, they can check out Going with the flow: A Hands-on Look at the Picture Book Making Process by Joseph Namara Hollis on 26 May (Sun), 230pm - 430pm (festival pass required).

They can also hear from authors about how Asian stories are being presented and promoted in the international market at On The World Stage: Promoting Southeast Asian and Asian Stories on 26 May (Sun), 3pm - 430pm (festival pass required).

I'm not presenting at the AFCC but will be moderating the panel Trending Pages: How TikTok Transforms Book Recommendations and Sales on 25 May (Sat), 530pm - 645pm. If you're interested in hearing about how social media can drive book sales, do come by (festival pass required)!

For the full list of programmes and those that requires a festival pass, please see AFCC's website. Hope to see you at the AFCC!

Disclaimer: My opinions and reviews here are strictly my and my family’s own.

©Vivian Teo. All content and photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.



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