Inside Look: 2019 Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival

Got bookworms in your family? Here are 5 tips for attending this free event.

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival

The Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival comes to downtown Honolulu this Saturday and Sunday, featuring children’s book authors, live entertainment, discounts on local books and music, and a book swap where keiki can exchange their gently used books for others.

The festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 4 and 5, at the Civic Grounds next to Honolulu Hale. Admission is free but bring cash if you want to buy brand-new books and music, and of course, food. 

Here are 5 tips to help your family navigate this year’s festival:

1. Stay For About 3 Hours. Parking is free in the underground municipal parking garage on Beretania and Alapai streets. The lot can fill up by noon, so arrive as soon as the festival opens Saturday or Sunday at 10 a.m. If you can’t get there early, plan to arrive around 2 p.m. when the first group of people leave. Either way, you’ll have about three hours to roam, shop and entertain your family.

2. Swap Books First. Gather old books that your kids no longer read and bring them to the Bank of Hawaiʻi Book Swap tent, where they can exchange their books for other used ones. The recommended number of books to bring: up to five “gently used” books per person. For the best selections, swappers sometimes line up in front of the tent as early as 9 a.m., one hour before the festival begins. The tent is next to South King Street near the international food booths. 

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival

3. Visit the Kids Zone. Children’s activities and the keiki stage are next to Punchbowl Street behind Honolulu Hale. There, Mr. Steve, an award-winning performer from PBS Kids, will entertain at 10:30 a.m., noon and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Then on Sunday, he’ll be back at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Kids also might enjoy Uncle Wayne & The Howling Dog Band, which will perform at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Another act worth seeing is Tony Pisculli, who will demonstrate fight choreography at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Olympic skater and author Kristi Yamaguchi will read to the audience at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday on her namesake stage behind Honolulu Hale and Mission Memorial Auditorium.  

4. Be Ready for Anything. If your keiki need the potty, bathrooms are in front of the keiki stage next to Punchbowl Street, and also next to the book swap tent fronting South King Street. For medical emergencies, the first aid station is to the left of the main stage (if you’re facing the stage), close to the paths leading to the municipal parking garage.

5. Learn What Affects Families. Lively (and controversial) discussions will take place in the Wellness Pavilion. Perhaps some of these topics will interest you. On Saturday: Marijuana at 10 a.m., Hawaiʻi homelessness report at noon, sleep deprivation at 2 p.m. and death with dignity at 3 p.m. On Sunday: Vaping at 11 a.m., social media at noon, followed by teenage depression and suicide at 1 p.m. Then it’s all about work-life balance for millennials at 2 p.m., followed by nutrition and cancer at 3 p.m.  

Click here to see a bigger image of the map.

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival

Map of the 2019 Hawaiʻi Book and Musical Festival.

The 2019 Hawaiʻi Book and Musical Festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 4-5, at the Civic Grounds next to Honolulu Hale, 650 S. King St. Visit for more details.