UAE children discover world of words and beyond

Afkar Abdullah/Sharjah
Filed on April 19, 2017
UAE children discover world of words and beyond

(Pictures by M.Sajjad)

The festival has the theme 'Discover Beyond'

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, opened the ninth Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF 2017) at Expo Centre Sharjah on Wednesday.

Running until April 29, the festival has the theme 'Discover Beyond' and features 2,093 cultural, artistic and entertainment activities, with 123 exhibitors and 179 guests taking part from across the world.

Dr Sheikh Sultan toured stands of a number of local, Arab and international publishing houses, as well as the stalls of several cultural and educational institutions, where he was briefed on the publications displayed and the activities taking place during the 11 days of the festival.

At the Ministry of Education (MoE) stand, Sheikh Sultan was acquainted with the initiatives launched by the ministry and the platforms that showcase their expertise in encouraging children to read and enhancing their skills in exploration and knowledge acquisition. As part of its participation, the ministry has allocated a set of stalls at the festival, including 'The Corner,' where it is hosting a competition on writing, authorship and publishing for students.

He also visited 'Wahat Al Karama' stand, which exemplifies the Wahat Al Karama memorial site in the Capital that was established to honour Emirati martyrs and immortalise their sacrifices for the nation.

Sheikh Sultan also visited the exhibition's central feature 'Brain: The Inside Story' - a special installation organised by the American Museum of Natural History in New York during the SCRF.

At the Kalimat Group stand, where Amna Al Mazmi, manager of Kalimat Foundation, introduced Kalimat Foundation for Children's Empowerment, briefed its vision and goals to the Sharjah Ruler. She also revealed the details of the group's recently launched initiative, 'Ara' (I see).

During his visit to the Social Services Department stand, His Highness launched a first-of-its-kind e-training programme for parents. The programme is a step-by-step guide which parents can use to teach their children how to say "no" when they find themselves in a manipulative social situation.

The Sharjah Ruler then visited the sixth edition of the Sharjah Children's Book Illustrations Exhibition which features 303 artworks by 90 illustrators from across the world. He met with a number of artists taking part in the exhibition and commended their role in attracting children to books and encouraging them to read by way of their engaging and stimulating work. He honoured the winners of the exhibition, with first place winner Alejandro Galindo Buitrago from Spain receiving $8,000, second place winner Marco Somŕ from Italy receiving $6,000 and Ester Garcia Cortes from Spain, who won the third place awarded $4,000. Three incentive prizes valued at $1,000 each went to Esteli Meza from Mexico, Cristina Pieropan from Italy and Hany Saleh from Egypt.

Widely recognised as one of the industry's most diverse children's literary events, the SCRF 2017 covers more than 2,300 square metres, with activities spanning several programmes.

This year, a galaxy of Arab and foreign authors, media personalities, artists and education experts are taking part in the festival. The list of Arab guests includes Hanan Turk, Egyptian actress and editor of Nona Magazine for children; Ghazi Hussein, Kuwaiti media personality; Mohammed Al Hana'i, Omani author and media personality; Hasan Khalil Abdullah, Lebanese writer and author of The Fog Shepherd and Egyptian writer Amal Farah, among many others.

The highly-acclaimed international authors attending SCRF 2017 include Gayle Forman, American journalist and New York Times best-selling author of Just One Day and Just One Year, Kwame Alexander, American poet and New York Times best-selling author of He Said, She Said and Korky Paul, British children's book illustrator.

With its theme of Discover Beyond, SCRF 2017's focus this year is on children's spirit of discovery, which is not limited to science or space but includes every experience and each new world that can be opened with the turn of a page. The festival aims to imbue a spirit of inquisition and the means to find answers to the burning questions that occupy young minds.

Sheikh Sultan honours winners

Dr Sheikh Sultan honoured the winners of the SCRF Awards 2017 at the opening ceremony. The Award for the Best Arabic Children's Book for age group 4-12 years went to Rania Zainab for her work Every Day, with Abeer Al Taher receiving the prize on her behalf. The Arabic Young Adult Book Award that targets children aged 13-17 years was given to Dr Ibrahim Shalabi for his book Wasim Tours, while the International Children's Book Award was secured by Michelle Zilkoski for her title The Boy Who Knew the Mountains.

Sheikh Sultan also honoured the winners of the Sharjah Award for Library Literature in its three categories. Dr Amani Mohammed Al Sayyed won the first place for her work Archive Systems and Document Management at Institutions - an Exploratory Study of Technical and Functional Requirements. Second place went to Ayman Mohammed Ibrahim El Desouki for his research The Fifth Generation of Wireless Telecommunication Networks: Future Insights for the Preparation of a Strategic Framework for a Unified Arab Archive, while Ahmed Othman Ahmed took third place for his study Electronic Archiving in the UAE: A Study on its Reality and Planning for its Future.

Major attractions at the SCRF 2017

> Children's programme features 1,403 activities and 55 guests from 22 countries

> Cultural programme brings together more than 60 guests from 23 countries to participate in 40 activities

> Cookery Programme hosts 83 activities bringing in 14 guests from 14 countries to take part in three main activities that comprise live cooking demonstrations, cooking competitions and the 'Little Chef.'

> Little Innovator Café offers a platform for visitors to meet talented children in the fields of literature, sports, science and art.

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