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  • Vivian Teo

5 not-to-miss goodies at Singapore Book Fair 2019

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

Find Chinese and English titles at discounted prices at the Singapore Book Fair 2019 at Capitol Singapore, alongside engaging activities for both kids and adults.

Going home with a free 2-kg pack of brown rice and a Wu Pao Chun chocolate bun was the last thing I expected from my trip to Singapore Book Fair 2019. But I did. And apart from books, those are some of the goodies I got out of SBF 2019.

Before I get to the rice and bun, first things first. SBF 2019 is happening at Capitol Singapore from 31 May till 9 June 2019. During this time, you’ll find a wide range of Chinese and English books at discounted prices from various publishers, distributors and exhibitors. But there's more to it. Here at least five not-to-miss goodies at the SBF 2019.

1) The treasure trove of Chinese children titles

Did you know there are Chinese-versions of Usborne lift-the-flap books? Well, I didn't. There are many other titles I’ve seen in the English language but never knew they had Chinese versions till I was at SBF 2019. So if you want to stock up on Chinese children titles, this is the fair to go to.

Chinese Usborne books at You Yi's (友谊) stall

Many of my friends have children who love to read English storybooks but when it comes to Chinese books, we all have the same complaint – it’s so much harder to get our kids interested in Chinese books.

When Big E was younger, she had little interest in Chinese stories. But I knew if I wanted her to grow up being comfortable reading and writing Chinese, I had to expose her to the language from young, and reading Chinese books was one way to do so. To engage her, we looked for Chinese books with characters she liked and in her younger years, it was Disney movie characters. We bought many Disney books like Toy Story and Finding Nemo that were translated into Chinese. These captured her attention and were a start to getting her used to us reading to her in Chinese. That paved the way in opening her up to other Chinese titles over the years.

So if you have kids who are averse to Chinese books, this could be a way of getting them started on Chinese books. At the SBF's You Yi's (友谊) stall, there were a number of Chinese books based on familiar characters. Among these, Avengers, How to Train your Dragons, Barbie, Disney characters...

...My Little Pony, and Singapore's Armour Publishing's Timmy & Tammy. Never knew these existed in Chinese! What a lovely surprise!

Now, Big E and Little E love the Chinese Nao Nao (闹闹) books published by Marshall Cavendish Education. We have all the chapter books and would highly recommend the series for its funny storyline and relatability for young children from pre-schoolers to primary schoolers. We read these books to Little E when she was in pre-school, and she could understand them and found them hilarious.

The Nao Nao series on the right at You Yi

The newer Nao Nao books are comics, which my girls love as well though some of them were based on stories in the chapter books. We wished there were different storylines though, so imagine my delight when I saw the latest Nao Nao comic book with new storylines launched at the SBF! [Afternote: We finished reading the comic book the day I bought it and the girls said they want to re-read it the next day!]

Different exhibitors have different discounts for their books. The Nao Nao comic I bought at S$6.40 is 20% cheaper than retail price. Another exhibitor I saw was offering 50% off their Chinese titles. So browse around, and I’m sure you’ll find a bargain, if not, a good range of titles you might not find at bookstores.

There are also a wide variety of kid and adult English titles sold at a discount at the fair though the dominant theme at the fair is Chinese - SBF is after all organised by Singapore Press Holding’s Chinese Media Group. You can still find some uncommon titles like these Pokemon books ($8 each) [found at Fables's stall] which I’ve never seen at bookstores.

Pokemon books at Fables

2) Kids activities at Kid Zone

There’s a kid zone area at Basement Two where activities like Lego-sponsored colouring contests, meet-Geronimo-Stilton-mascot events, National Library Board story-telling, and plane-modelling and snow clay art workshops. It was pretty quiet on early Friday afternoon – most kids were still in school after all - but with the list of events planned, I'd expect the Kid Zone to get packed this weekend on with the start of the June holidays.

3) Meet your favourite authors

There is a whole list of talks and meet-and-greet author sessions throughout the ten days at the fair, and a number of them are children book authors.

Author Lianne Ong at SBF 2019

On opening day, Lianne Ong, author of the Stacey & the Museums series and Timmy & Tammy Discover Singapore Hawker Food, gave a talk on Preserving Singapore's hawker culture with tips for parents on how to engage their children on the topic.

Coming up, you can also meet Eliza Teoh of the Ellie Belly series and Low Ying Ping of the Mount Emily series. Check SBF 2019's Facebook page for detailed listing.

4) $1 stationery

Most of the exhibitors are at Level 1, but don’t miss out on those at Basement 2. Spotted at Union Book Co at Basement 2 - $1 for stationery like punchers and cute notebooks, along with crafts below $5. Like this gem, there are other exhibitors selling discounted books and wares at B2 close to the City Hall MRT exit/entrance.

5) Wu Pao Chun and other freebies

If you’re among the first 300 of the day who collected five stamps on the SBF’s navigation map from five zones at the SBF, you can redeem a free bun [out of four flavours] from the first Singapore bakery opened by Taiwanese award-winning bakery chef Wu Pao Chun. The bakery, which is also the chef’s name, opened on 31 May to coincide with SBF's launch. At lunch time on its opening day, there was a long queue at its cashier area.

But if you’re redeeming your free bun, just head to the bun selection area and hand your stamped map to the staff there.

My Wu Pao Chun bun

You can also enter a lucky draw for prizes like a Capitol Kempinski Hotel stay by spending a minimum of $40 at the SBF AND $15 at any F&B shops at Capitol Singapore, including the Capitol Kempinski Hotel and CHIJMES.

As for my 2-kg pack of rice, it comes in a goodie bag for the first 200 visitors who spent $50 at the SBF, with a maximum of five receipts. It’s not too difficult to accumulate that amount with the good buys at the fair, so I wouldn’t be surprise if it’s already fully redeemed within the opening day. If you’d like to know what else is in the goodie bag, here it is…

Goodies in my SBF goodie bag

Now, who said you can’t have your bun/rice and eat it too? Well, nobody did.

Find Singapore Book Fair 2019 at Capitol Singapore at the junction of North Bridge Road and Stamford Road. The fair takes place on Basement 2, Level 1 and Level 2.

What fine titles did you get from SBF 2019?

Disclaimer: Other than my own self-earned freebies, I paid for all my purchases. 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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