Start them young, keep them keen.
That seems to be the mindset behind the programmes lined up for the #BuySingLit campaign, half of which are aimed at younger readers.
The industry-led movement to get Singaporeans to buy more local books will hold 21 family-friendly events from Feb 24 to 26. These range from storytelling sessions to pop-up theatre performances toa chance for aspiring palaeontologists to learn about dinosaurs and touch real fossils.
National Book Development Council of Singapore deputy director Kenneth Quek says that while the campaign is targeted at Singaporeans of all ages, it is important to acclimatise children to reading locally at a young age.
"As children, we had no idea there were Singaporean books," he says. "I grew up reading British authors Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and I imagine many of us did too."
Ms Eliza Teoh, 45, started children's publishing company Bubbly Books partly because she realised the books read by her two daughters, now 17 and 13, were largely American or British.
"They kept asking why we don't celebrate Halloween. That's when I realised there were not enough books that portray the daily life of a Singaporean child."
Here are some highlights of programmes for children during the #BuySingLit weekend.
KIDS' SINGLIT TOWN
Localbooks.sg will build a pop-up store-cum-reading room where families can leaf through books all day. It will also debut a storytelling card game where players pit their plot twists against one another.
Where: Level 1, West Boulevard, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk When: Feb 21 to 26, 10am to 10pm daily Admission: Free
CELEBRATING SINGLIT WITH STORYTIME
Get hands-on at these workshops on Jason Erik Lundberg's book Bo Bo And Cha Cha's Big Day Out, where participants experiment with bringing the characters to life through play dough and figurines.
Where: My Imagination Kingdom, 03-43 OneKM, 11 Tanjong Katong RoadWhen: Feb 25, 10 to 11am, 11am to noon, 2.30 to 3.30pm Admission: Participants must buy a copy of the book ($14.90). Limited to 10 spaces a workshop.
Children's bookstore Woods In The Books will organise a weekend of activities for kid readers, from snapping photos with a diorama of characters from local books such as If I Were A Blue Kangaroo and The Island In The Caldera, to reading aloud from their favourite Singaporean books to win a prize. Spend at least $20 on local titles to get a special tote bag and a spot in a workshop with crafter Momshoo, where kids aged seven to 10 can make puppets of Mooty the mouse.
Where: Woods In The Books, 3 Yong Siak Street When: Feb 25, 10am to 8pm; and Feb 26, 10am to 6pm. The Read Aloud sessions are at noon and 1pm on both days. The Momshoo workshops are at 2pm on both days. Admission: Free except for the Momshoo puppet workshop, which is on a first-come, first-served basis with the purchase of local titles worth $20 and above. Each workshop takes 10 to 15 participants.
MAD ABOUT DINOSAURS
The authors of the children's series Fossil Finders and Ryan And Rex series, fossil collector Andy Chua and 14-year-old author Amon Chua, will be discussing dinosaurs, with a show-and-tell involving dinosaur fossils such as a raptor egg.
Where: Main Atrium, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive When: Feb 25, 11am to 12.30pm Admission: Free
NEK SELAMPIT JUNIOR STORYTELLING WORKSHOP
Children's book author Jumaini Ariff will regale young librarygoers with Malay stories as her alter ego Nek Selampit. The workshop, for those aged seven to nine, will also teach kids to make hand puppets and colour a special rucksack.
Where: Changi-Simei Rooms, Level 3 Tampines Regional Library, 31 Tampines Avenue 7 When: Feb 25, 2 to 4.30pm Admission: $6.38 (go to http://bit.ly/2jT4xSI)
For more information, go to buysinglit.sg/