Books, movies, animation: Sharjah Children's Reading Festival returns on May 3

Themed 'Train your Brain', 14th edition will feature the works of 512 guests from 66 countries


Afkar Ali Ahmed

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


KT file photo
KT file photo

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 4:56 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 4:57 PM

The 14th Sharjah Children's Reading Festival will bring together 512 featured guests from 66 countries taking part in 1,658 workshops and sessions and showcasing their latest work in the child literary scene.

The festival to be held from May 3-14 at the Expo Centre Sharjah, is themed "Train your brain," and is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). Besides a number of events, it will host the including the inaugural Sharjah Animation Conference and the second edition of the Booksellers Conference.

The details were revealed during a press conference on Wednesday at the SBA headquarters attended by Ahmed Bin Rakkad al Ameri, chairman of the SBA; Rashid Abdullah Al Obed, director of the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority; Khoula Al Mujaini, general coordinator of SCRF; Mansour Al Hassani, director of publishers services , SBA; Mohammed Al Amimi, vice president of Business Partnerships and Customer Service, ‘Etisalat by e&’; among others.

Details of the 14th SCRF being announced at a press conference. - supplied photo
Details of the 14th SCRF being announced at a press conference. - supplied photo

Sharjah Animation Conference

SBA will hold the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Animation Conference from May 3-5 on the sidelines of SCRF in partnership with Italy's Bergamo Animation Days (BAD) festival. It will provide a platform for people to come together, exchange ideas, and create meaningful connections through 11 masterclasses, 6 workshops and 3 panel discussions, and a vibrant professional agenda. Visitors can find out more about the conference, activities, as well as book their tickets through

Booksellers Conference

The second edition of the Booksellers Conference will bring together 383 book distributors, including 223 from 52 countries around the world and 160 from 17 Arab countries, and will showcase their latest offerings in the childrens' literary scene as well as deliberate on the realities of the book distribution ecosystem and explore opportunities in new markets. It will also feature seminars and workshops, catering to the booming industry.

Children can shape our future

Al Ameri said: “Our first goal and project is to provide children, adolescents, and youth with the tools of sound thinking, and to open the doors of learning, skills acquisition, invention, and innovation for them. We are confident that what they will think will determine our fate and shape our future. That is why the new edition of the festival this year came under the slogan 'Train your brain' to complement the ongoing efforts to promote the awareness, knowledge, and skills of our children. We wanted to tell the world that the minds being shaped among us today are the first guarantee for all our aspirations and hopes.”

File photo
File photo

Media messages align with SCRF

Al Obed said: “Since SCRF's inaugural edition in 2010, the authority has covered its activities.

"Our mission intersects with several aspects of the SBA's message in raising awareness and nurturing generations that are fond of books and love reading. We plan to ensure comprehensive coverage of various festival activities through live television and radio programs, including a live broadcast of the opening ceremony.”

Publishing market

Al Hassani said: “The concordance of the booksellers conference with the festival presents a renewed occasion to amplify both the Arab and global publishing market. It offers an exceptional prospect for the exchange of direct sales agreements between publishers and book distributors, featuring the participation of distinguished figures, experts, and specialists from the publishing realm.”

Al Hassani revealed that SCRF 2023 is hosting 141 publishers, including 93 Arab and 48 foreign publishers. The UAE tops the list with 77 publishers, followed by Lebanon with 12 publishers alongside many others. Top participating countries include the UK, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the US, Australia, India, Pakistan, Algeria, and Iraq.

Investing in young minds

Al Mujaini said: “Investing in kids is an investment in the prosperity and progress of our society, hence, the importance of this event, which we are keen on bolstering as an open space for children to express themselves and instil the love of books in them.

Range of children’s activities

The 12-day festival will be home to 1,658 activities, including 946 events led by 25 guests from 10 countries, including a diverse range of workshops for children covering arts, sports, science, and technology. The festival will also host 136 theatre performances, roaming shows, acrobat and music concerts led by 16 guests from 16 countries. The most notable of them include a comedy play Akbar the Great Nahi Rahe, and the children's show Masaka Kids Africana .

Alone at home - The play

One of SCRF's highlights in the upcoming edition is a play titled Alone at Home, produced by SBA in collaboration with Nujum from the UAE and Kuwaiti Panther Media Production. The SBA production features Emirati actors

The 14th SCRF will be hosting 68 guests, including artists, writers, and creators from 21 countries, who will lead a diverse range of panel discussions that shed light on some of the most critical issues facing the world today, as well as sessions focused on developing communication skills for children and nurturing their creative and intellectual skills and capabilities.

Notable participants

Some of the notable Arab names participating in the festival include Amal Farah from Egypt, Dr. Fadia Daas from Jordan, Mohannad Thabet Al Akoush from Syria, Samah Abu Bakr Ezzat from Egypt, and Mohammed Shaker Mahmoud Jiragh from Kuwait. International guests include Ross Welford, international bestselling author of children's fiction; Jasmine Farga, Jasmine Warga, International bestselling and award-winning author of children's and young adults' fiction; Ellie Robinson, author and multi-medal-winning swimmer; Timothy Knapman, International bestselling author of children's fiction; and Annie Oswald, Vice President of Books and Audio at FranklinCovey Co.

The festival's cultural activities include a series of panel discussions, as well as sessions focused on developing communication skills in children and nurturing their creative and intellectual abilities.

Cookery Corner

The popular cookery corner returns this edition with over 33 culinary activities presented by twelve renowned chefs from nine countries. The chefs taking part in the 14th edition of SCRF include Ashia Ismail from New Zealand; Priyanka Naik from the US; Uma Raghuraman from India; Ana Ortins from Portugal; Fatina Al Daher, Mrs Balqis and Widad Zarzour from Lebanon; Asia Othman from Morocco; Yasmin Abu Hassan from Jordan; UAE twins Meitha and Abdulrahman; and Anto Cocagne from Gabon.

Comics Corner

Children and youth will have the opportunity to explore the world of comics through more than 323 activities, including workshops, panel discussions, and a series of roaming shows led by 15 creatives from 4 countries. The most prominent activities at the corner include Acro Adventures and Ninja Tests, in addition to workshops and interactive activities showcasing 35 local talents and their works.

Social Media Station

The Social Media Station will be home to 72 activities led by influencers and content creators, including Wessam Qutob, Chef Faisal Al Khalidi, Azza Al Mughairy and Jamal Al Mulla, who will shine light on the latest techniques for creating content on digital platforms and developing suitable content for target audiences.

WAM file
WAM file

Sharjah Children's Book Illustration Award

During the festival, SCRF will also announce the 11th Sharjah Children's Book Illustration Award winners, which received an impressive 1,300 submissions from 280 participants representing 46 countries. 235 works by 85 artists have qualified and will compete for the top spots.


More news from UAE