9 Books You Won't Be Able to Put Down

Make good all your bookish ambitions with our guide to the essential additions to your family’s home library.

Reading brings plenty of benefits to both young and old. For example, reading to your child everyday can help them develop better language and literacy skills. For teenagers, being engrossed in a novel can improve their focus and concentration, social skills as well as vocabulary. Enjoying a good book can even provide a therapeutic escape, reduce stress, and improve sleep for adults.
Whatever the age, reading is an effective way to lift our moods, expand our minds and develop the imagination, all in the comfort of our own home. So, get ready for a wealth of heartwarming stories and heroic adventures, with this list of books that will reinvigorate you and your whole family. Since September is Read A New Book Month, there’s no better time than now to start reading!

For Children

Title: Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment
Genre: Graphic Novel
Author: Dav Pilkey
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Scholastic, 2020

We all need a hero in our lives, such as the crime-biting canine in Dav Pilkey’s latest book in the
Dog Man series.
The Supa Buddies bamboozled the baddies, but all's not right in the world. Dog Man has a new problem to pound, and he's going to need his entire pack to help him. Will he go barking up the wrong tree? Though “Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment” is a young reader’s book, there's plenty of lessons for older readers to learn from as well. For longtime fans of the Captain Underpants and Dog Man series, “Dog Man: Grime and Punishment” will be a familiar and delightful continuation of Pilkey's long-running universe. Even if you're new, and looking for a light and breezy read, or trying to find something for the younger readers in your life, “Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment” will offer as enthusiastic a welcome to you as the titular hero does to all he meets.
Dav Pilkey's wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of doing good.
POPULAR Exclusive: Receive a free* Limited Edition Dog Man Folder, and stand a chance to win an assortment of book bundles (worth up to $100) with every purchase of Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment.
*Terms and Conditions apply. While stocks last.
Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment is available from POPULAR Bookstore located at Causeway Point, Eastpoint Mall, and Northpoint City, Times Bookstores located at Waterway Point, and Yishun Public Library located at Northpoint City.

Title: Mabel and the Mountain
Genre: Fiction
Author: Kim Hillyard
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Penguin Random House Children's, 2020

A wonderful read for a snuggly bedtime story, “Mabel and the Mountain” by Kim Hillyard will make the
whole family smile!
This adventure follows Mabel the fly as she endeavours to cross three things off her “big plans” list: climb a mountain, host a dinner party and make friends with a shark. At the beginning, many naysayers tell her that her dreams are impossible. Still, she remains determined to venture out into the world and make something of herself.
Hillyard — through delightful illustrations — uses Mabel to show kids that adversity is a natural part of following one’s path, and that one of the most important lessons we can learn about ourselves is how we choose to overcome them. If you’re looking for an inspiring children’s picture book to read to your little one before bed, curling up with “Mabel and The Mountain” will show your kiddo the impressive power of self-belief! 
Mabel and the Mountain is available from Times Bookstores located at Waterway Point.

Title: The Box Turtle
Genre: Fiction
Author: Vanessa Roeder
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2020

“The Box Turtle” by Vanessa Roeder is a sweet story, and one that shows us how to embrace
our differences.
There’s something different about Terrance the turtle — he was born without a shell! Terrance doesn’t mind, though, because his parents gave him a cardboard box to wear instead. Terrance loves his special shell, which keeps him dry at the beach and cosy at night. But when the other turtles make fun of his weird shell, Terrance abandons it and sets off with his hermit crab friend in search of a better replacement. Hilarity ensues as Terrance tries on objects of all shapes and sizes, from mailboxes to flower beds, yet nothing seems to fit. Just when the search seems hopeless, Terrance, with a little help from his friend, realises that he is so much more than his shell. 
With charming illustrations and a fun sense of humour, “The Box Turtle” tells an important story of friendship, self-confidence, and embracing what makes you different. You will enjoy reading aloud with your child, and creating their own box shells afterwards!
The Box Turtle is available from Yishun Public Library located at Northpoint City
Call number: English ROE. 

For Teens and Young Adults

Title: A Kind of Spark
Genre: Fiction
Author: Elle McNicoll
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Knights Of Media, 2020

“A Kind of Spark” by Elle McNicoll shows us that we must stand up for what we believe in.
If you want to develop resilience, strength and courage in your kids, “A Kind of Spark” is a book that can help. It’s a touching story about Addie, an autistic 11-year-old who faces bullying from her classmates and teacher. So, when she learns the history of her town where women were unjustly accused of as “witches”, she finds the courage to raise a campaign for these victims, make her voice heard and change the way people see her. 
This tear-jerker of a book captures Addie’s emotions so honestly and vividly, it makes us realise how we often struggle to speak up for ourselves. For teenagers, this book is empowering in many ways. It not only reveals the very real challenges of those living with disabilities and the issues of bullying, it also teaches our children how to celebrate their uniqueness and differences. Most importantly, it shows us that it is worth standing up for what we believe is right.
A Kind of Spark is available from Times Bookstores located at Waterway Point.

Title: Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir
Genre: Graphic Novel
Author: Robin Ha
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Balzer + Bray/Harper Alley, 2020

Why fit in when you can stand out? “Almost American Girl” by Robin Ha shows us why!

 After her mother’s decision to marry a man in Alabama, 14-year-old Chuna, who thought she was just going on another mother-daughter trip, grapples with culture shock, bullying, and integrating into a new family. Her mother is still her hero, and she recognises the sacrifices she has made in order for them to survive. It’s rough going though, especially when the rest of the Kims, her new stepfamily, are not very supportive. She can’t help but compare Korea to the U.S., the lively streets of Seoul and her many friends to her isolation in 1990s Huntsville. It isn’t until her mother reminds her of her love of comics and drawing that Chuna, now going by Robin, begins to thrive.
“Almost American Girl” is about finding and creating a new identity, and art as a form of salvation. Through comics and drawing, Robin discovers something she loves, giveing her life new meaning that can provide goals and a trajectory. A story about growth, suffering, and becoming, this book will resonate with young adult readers.
Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir is available from Yishun Public Library located at Northpoint City
Call number: Y 305.906912 HA

Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Genre: Fiction
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Scholastic, 2020

How well would you do in the Hunger Games? Find out in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by
Suzanne Collins.
“May the odds be ever in our favour”… Sound familiar? Yes, the thrilling Hunger Games series is back! This time, we travel 60 years back in time to before the events of the first book, even before our favourite heroine and main protagonist — Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence in the big-screen adaptation) existed. 
Remember the evil villain in the original series, Coriolanus Snow? This prequel is about his rags-to-riches story, and reveals his rise to power. It starts off with Snow as a poor 18-year-old kid, eager to prove himself and bring glory back to his fallen house. To do so, he has to outwit and outplay his classmates to mentor the winning tribute during the tenth annual Hunger Games. 
To his horror, Snow finds out he is assigned to mentor a female tribute from the lowest and poorest class in Panem, District 12. Does this would-be villain help his tribute win or lose, knowing that his every move might lead to her death in the arena? He makes the tough choice between obeying the rules or breaking them in order to ensure both their survival. Inspirational characters from “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” will help young readers learn how to face challenges and handle adversity. 
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is available from POPULAR Bookstore located at Causeway Point, Eastpoint Mall, and Northpoint City.

For Adults

Title: Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family
Genre: Non-fiction
Author: Mitch Albom
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Sphere, 2019

Celebrate the human spirit with Mitch Albom’s intimate and heartwarming memoir “Finding Chika”.
When Albom became director of the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, he knew the children would make an impact on his life, but one toddler in particular, Chika, stole his heart. She was born just three days before the earthquake that destroyed Haiti in 2010. When Chika arrived at the orphanage, she was only three, but she quickly became a leader among the children. 
When she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, Albom and his wife brought Chika into their Michigan home and sought out the best treatment they could find. When those treatments failed, they traveled for two years to other countries for experimental procedures. In addition to his own viewpoint, the author narrates the story by imagining what Chika was thinking and feeling. 
As Albom makes clear from the start, Chika did not survive her condition (she died in 2017 at age seven); his writing about this journey is unadorned and heartwarming. He shares his joy at becoming a father to this vivacious child, his fears as he reintroduced Chika to her biological father, and the pain and sorrow he felt when she died. He marvels at the relationship Chika had with his wife and shares his amazement that Chika so readily connected with other adults. 
The takeaway from this simple, moving memoir is that love has no boundaries and should not be hindered by ethnicity, religion, education, or money.
Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family is available from Times Bookstores located at Waterway Point.

Title: Neurodharma: Seven Steps to the Highest Happiness
Genre: Non-fiction
Author: Rick Hanson
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. London: Rider, 2020

For anyone who wants to establish a psychologically beneficial meditation practice “Neurodharma”, by Rick Hanson, PhD, is an accomplished guide to human potential.
If life seems to be growing more complex or stressful lately, this book could help you discover calm, clarity and long-lasting happiness.In “Neurodharma”, Dr. Rick Hanson provides a well-researched, seven-part guide to reaching a sense of enlightenment, which includes finding inner peace, handling stress, healing old pains, discovering your own inner goodness, and more.
How would one achieve such “enlightenment” without dedicating a whole life to monkhood? Through his studies of Buddist psychology and meditation, Dr. Hanson has engineered a practical, step-by-step guide for just about anybody looking to reach the highest human experience of “awakening”. Dr. Hanson draws on scientific research about the benefits of meditation practice, which he has found to increase the brain’s ability to rewire itself. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself practising meditation, because this book includes useful tips for both beginners and the more experienced. 
This groundbreaking book claims that awakening can be experienced by anybody, and not just the chosen few! Could this be an effective way to achieve life-long happiness? You won’t know until you give it a go!
Neurodharma: Seven Steps to the Highest Happiness is available from Yishun Public Library located at Northpoint City
Call number: 158.1 HAN

Title: Those Were the Days
Genre: Non-fiction
Author: Mun Chor Seng
Publisher: All Rights Reserved. Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2020

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is most evident in Mun Chor Seng’s
evocative images.
Mun Chor Seng started taking photographs in his teens and over the last six decades has captured many aspects of Singapore. His evocative images, brought together in this timely collection, cover everything from early street scenes to how we used to live, work and play. These photos from the 1950s to the 1970s will evoke happy memories and show the way of life in post-war Singapore. These range from early street scenes to human interest photos of how Singaporeans live, work and play. While some images have been shared with the Singapore Memory Portal, most of the images in this book have never been published. 
The photos of children’s birthday parties at home, family picnics at Changi as well as school excursions to a pineapple canning factory and the Alexandra Brickworks will bring back nostalgic memories for older readers. His photos of Kampong Potong Pasir with water buffaloes and padi fields as well as night scenes of old Singapore with the buildings all lighted up will surprise many. Mun was an active member of the Singapore Camera Club (later renamed as Photographic Society of Singapore) and includes photos of their activities and exhibitions. Also featured are key events in the country’s history such as General Elections, National Day Parades at the Padang and the launch of television at the Victoria Memorial Hall.
All photos are accompanied by detailed captions that provide the context of what is presented. With over 700 photos from the 1950s to the early 1970s, “Those were the Days” will be of interest to readers, both young and old. It will evoke many happy memories and show the way of life in the early years of independent Singapore.
Those Were the Days is available from Times Bookstores located at Waterway Point.
Reading is a time-honoured form of entertainment, and if you’re over every other form of entertainment that’s been available to you over the last few months, take a step back from the slightly crazy world around you, by getting lost in any one of these must-read books. With that, we hope that these titles will inspire your reading in 2020!