As part of my job as a travel writer based in Bangkok, Thailand, I often browse forums all over the internet to find out what travelers to Thailand want to know about the country I love. One question that keeps popping up from parents of children who’ll either be coming to Thailand on vacation or living here for an extended period of time is this – “Can I buy English-language children’s books in Bangkok, Thailand and, if so, where?”
An easy question to answer – “Yes” and, “Just about everywhere”. With so many Thai children learning English now, plus Bangkok being the destination for millions of English-speaking travelers and their kids every year, it’s now as easy to buy children’s English-language books in Thailand as any other world-class city, but these three are the best places to start.
Kinokuniya Books – If anyone asks me to recommend a book store for any subject, the first Bangkok book store I always recommend is Kinokuniya Books. The largest bookshop in Thailand, it’s a Japanese-owned book company that, surprisingly, sells mainly English-language books. At all the Kinokuniya branches in Bangkok, you’ll find a children’s book department, but with two branches in particular the places to shop for kids books in the city – the branches at Siam Paragon and Emporium malls.
At both Siam Paragon and Emporium branches of Kinokuniya Books, the stores have built a special area in the store that’s nothing but English-language childrens’ books. Kid-friendly, and packed to the gills with fiction, non-fiction and picture books, as well as a good selection of English-language English and Math workbooks, you can’t go wrong at Kinokuniya.
Look for all the Harry Potter books here. You’ll also find “Goodnight Moon”, “Dr Seuss:”, “Guess How Much I Love You”, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, – Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Mary Norton, Maurice Sendak, Richard Scarry, Judy Blume, and so many more classic and modern kids books.
If you let your kids read comic books, Kinokuniya also has a massive English-language comic books section with comic books from the US, Australia, Canada, Japan and more.
Prices too are good at Kinokuniya, with many books no more expensive than what you’d pay in the US and actually cheaper than prices in the UK.
Kinokuniya Books’ best branches are at Siam Paragon Mall and Emporium Mall – both in downtown Bangkok in the main shopping areas.
Asia Books – Bangkok’s other major English-language book store is Asia Books with more than 25 branches around the city. It’s also Bangkok’s oldest English-language chain bookshop, having been open since 1969.
Although Asia Books branches tend to have shelves that are a bit more squashed together that at Kinokuniya, they do have a good selection of children’s books. Everything from picture books for baby to first reading books for your toddler, the latest children’s fantasy books for your 10 year old and, of course, lots of teenage romance novels for the girls in your family.
Prices at Asia Books are often higher than Kinokuniya, but if you pay for their annual discount card you can save a fair bit of money throughout the year. They also have good book sales and are always running special day and evening book-related events for kids, with coloring competition prizes, writing prizes etc – a good place for your children to meet some kids their age too.
Asia Books has a smallish branch at Emporium Mall, a larger branch at Siam Discovery, one at Chamchuri Square and another at Central World Plaza. They even have a couple of branches at Bangkok hospitals and, of course, Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Bangkok International Book Fair – The Bangkok International Book Fair is an annual event now in its 39th year. With several thousand stalls, of course many of them are Thai book sellers but there’s always a contingent of book sellers from Singapore, the US, Malaysia and England with mainly English-language books, as well as representatives from Kinokuniya Books, Asia Books, B2S, and several other Thai book shops and companies that sell English books.
In the eight years I’ve lived in Bangkok, I’ve noticed at each year’s Bangkok International Book Fair, more and more English-language children’s books are available as Thai parents are so obsessed with their kids learning English.
The Bangkok International Book Fair is held every year March to April (exact times vary) and runs for a week. The best time to go is during the week though as, on the weekend, it tends to be a bit of a mob scene.
The Bangkok International Book Fair is held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok.
Bangkok International Book Fair