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537 activities by authors and creatives from 15 nations to edutain young readers in SCRF
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 05 - 2021

The Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF) is back again to unite young readers with creators of children's literature and allied arts from May 19 – 29 at the Sharjah Expo Centre (4p.m. – 10p.m.).
Themed 'For Your Imagination', the 12th edition of the festival organized by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) will host a series of events, workshops and other interactive activities that will transport young generations to a wonderful world of innovative edutainment with the participation of 172 publishers from 15 countries. Popular artists and experts will lead 537 specialized activities and a series of theatrical shows, and workshops.
The 11-day event, which will follow strict COVID-19 preventive measures will host literary discussions by 27 participating authors from 15 countries, in both in-person and online formats.
SCRF 2021 will also host an elite group of Arab and international illustrators who will participate in the 9th edition of the Sharjah Children's Book Illustration Exhibition, which runs on the sidelines of SCRF, and a Comics corner that will take visitors on an explorative journey of the creative art form through 132 workshops and activities.
The details of the festival's program agenda were revealed at the SBA's headquarters in the presence of Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA; Maj. Gen. Saif Al Ziri Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police; Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, director general of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority; Mohamed Al Amimi, vice-president, business engagement and customer support at Etisalat; Khoula Al Mujaini, general coordinator of Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, as well as media representatives.
Children too participated in a creative workshop that was organized for them at the press conference.
Al Ameri said: "SBA is committed to Sharjah's cultural and development vision based on advancing the new generations. SCRF is an important pillar in our strategy that is focused on instilling a love for the written word in children and adolescents, to build a knowledge-based community, and advance Sharjah's comprehensive development goals."
He continued: "This year's edition of SCRF is being organized under the directives of Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to use innovative and interactive methods to create spaces where young generations of book lovers can once again come together to read and nurture their creativity in relative freedom after the extended periods of social distancing dictated by the pandemic."
The chairman added: "We promise a very special treat for children through the new edition of SCRF and will ensure their wellbeing in accordance with the UAE's safety protocols. We are sure that the amazing activities we have lined up will encourage young participants to unleash and advance their skills. We say to our children: follow your dreams. With your imagination, we will create a wonderful future together."
For his part, Maj. Gen Al Shamsi, said: "Our participation stems from our social responsibility and emulates the vision of the ruler of Sharjah. SCRF aims to pave the path for a brighter future for young generations, and it is our collective responsibility as institutions serving the public to partner in the success of this important event."
Emphasizing on the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority's role in taking SCRF to the masses, Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, remarked: "SCRF invites us every year to showcase the materialization of Sharjah's cultural vision. With each edition, the festival opens the door wide to all of us to experience the belief of Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi that children and youth are at the heart of nation building.
"This is what drives us to contribute to this key endeavor by the emirate and the UAE. We, at SBA, hope to live up to the responsibilities entrusted to us for this prominent event, as we deliver to our viewers and listeners across the nation a minute-by-minute showcase of the upcoming edition."
Al Amimi, said: "It is an honor for Etisalat to be among the partners of the 12th edition of SCRF. We want to support Sharjah's status as an incubator of culture and innovation in the UAE and the region, and that the seeds of knowledge continue to be sown in the present and future generations. I thank the organizers for their tremendous efforts and hope SCRF 2021 entices visitors of all age groups and nationalities."
Al Mujaini started sharing the details of SCRF 2021 with an elaboration of the festival's theme 'For Your Imagination'. She said: "The theme reflects SBA's vision and strategy to nurture the young generations and raise their awareness of the fact that through imagination, creativity is unleashed and great inventions are born. Imagination gives art its meaning and forges the path to a glorious future."
The 12th edition will bring together 11 authors from the Arab region, including Emirati artist and illustrator Aysha Al Hermani and Egyptian actors Ahmad Amin, Tayeb Adib and Amr Samir Atef. Other authors include Heba Ismail Mandani and Huda Al Shawwa Qadoumi from Kuwait; Nisreen Jaafar Al Noor from Bahrain; Faraj Al Dhafeeri from KSA; Wafa Al Shamsi from Oman; Fidaa Al Zumar from Jordan; and Hussein Ali Haref from Iraq.
Meanwhile, 16 International authors will take part in the 11-day extravaganza, including Matt Lamothe, Ambika Anand Prokop, Kevin Sherry, Nanette Heffernan, Abby Cooper from USA; Curtis Jobling, Aisha Bushby, Katie and Kevin Tsang, Fransie Frandsen, Sebastian de Souza from the UK; Swaady Martin from Ivory Coast; Misako Rocks from Japan; Claudia Rueda from Columbia; Dinara Mirtalipova from Uzbekistan; and Zenubia Arsalan from Pakistan.
Young readers will have the opportunity to participate in 385 activities presented by experts and specialists that will enrich their imagination and knowledge. They will also have a chance to attend SBA's very first production titled Dreams Book, with a cast that includes Wadima Ahmed, Wahba Al Duri, Ahmed bin Hussein, Bader Al Shuaibi, and others.
SCRF will also host a play Good Night, and a series of roaming shows, namely, Enchanted Flower Globe, Big Names in History, Color Fashion, and Invisible Duo. The famous Cookery Corner will sizzle up this year's edition of SCRF too with more than 20 culinary activities presented by four renowned Arab chefs — Jordanian Daad Abu Jaber, Ghada Tally from Egypt, Sudanese Zahra Abdullah, and Alia Al Kassimi from Morocco.
SCRF will host the 9th edition of the Sharjah Children's Book Illustration Exhibition with 395 artists and illustrators from 50 countries exhibiting their works. The artists include 106 from 15 Arab nations and 289 from 35 countries around the world.
Children and youth will have the opportunity to explore the world of comics through 110 workshops and 22 shows presented by specialists and artists.
In keeping with its dedication to developing the talents of youth and instilling a love of the Arabic language, the SCRF organizes the 'Poetry Knight' literary competition in collaboration with the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA). The poetry contest seeks to encourage young talents to hone their recitation and public performance skills. First, second and third place winners of the Poetry Knight competition will receive AED3,000, AED2,000 and AED1,000, respectively.
In line with SCRF's vision to support and improve the visual content in children's books in Arabic, this year's edition of the event will bring together bookmakers at the Children's Book Makers Platform (Ufuq). The platform aims to promote Arabic children's books that feature high-quality visual content that can compete globally in the publishing industry targeting Arab speakers.
Ufuq will offer a financial support of $1500 to each participating illustrator for the production of one book. Participating illustrators and publishers can receive aid for up to a maximum of two books, which will also receive marketing and advertising support in line with SCRF's vision.
Ufuq has so far received 50 entries from Arabic publishing houses as well as Emirati, Arab and international illustrators from 15 countries including Italy, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan and Iraq, to name a few.
The festival will strictly follow all COVID-19 preventive measures in line with UAE safety protocols, with an inclusive plan that includes daily sanitization of the venue's halls and common areas, thermal scanning at all access points, and placement of hand sanitizer stations across the venue. Use of facemasks and following physical distancing rules will be mandatory. — WAM

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