Sultan Al Qasimi Inaugurates 11th Sharjah Children’s
Themed ‘Explore Knowledge’, event runs from April 17–27
Sharjah, April 17, 2019:His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has inaugurated the 11th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2019) today (Wednesday), at Sharjah Expo Centre.
In continuation of efforts to enrich Sharjah’s libraries, The Ruler of Sharjah Ruler has ordered the allocation of AED 2.5 million towards the purchase of latest publications from publishing houses participating in SCRF, which have been brought in by 167 publishers from 18 countries this year.
Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), SCRF 2019 is themed ‘Explore Knowledge’, and will see appearances from 198 guests from 56 countries, who will be leading 2,546 cultural activities from April 17–27, all designed to make reading more appealing for children and young adults.
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi toured SCRF’s exhibition halls and the stands of a number of Emirati, Arab and international publishers, where he was briefed with their printed and digital books, and other learning materials. He also visited the pavilions of several government cultural and educational institutions, where he listened to presentations by organisers about their services, products and events lined up during the literary extravaganza.
The Ruler of Sharjah also visited the popular Sharjah Children’s Book Illustrations Exhibition, which features 320 illustrators from 55 countries this year. His Highness honoured the 8th edition’s winners: Yan Frankel from Argentina, Masanobu Sato from Japan, and Mohammad Barrangi from the UK/Iran, who won the first, second and third prizes, respectively. Honourable mention prizes were offered to two young artists Vive Noor from Estonia, and Fatima Kawtharani from Lebanon.
The Sharjah Ruler also honoured the winner of the Sharjah Children’s Book Award for Visually Impaired Children, which went to the Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation for the book, The Olive Trees of My Grandmother Zahra. It is part of the Qutof Al Kahir series written by Jamela Yahyawi.
The Sharjah Children’s Book Award winners were also felicitated by HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi. My Mother’s Hand by Aisha Al Ajel has won The Arabic Children’s Book award, dedicated to 4–12 years age category. The Island of Rings by Hind Saif Al Bar has scooped the Arabic Young Adult Book award, dedicated to the 13–17 years age category. Finally, The Secret of the Cave by Julia Johnson was declared the winner of the International Children’s Book award, which is given to books that target 7–13 year old readers.
His Highness also honoured winners of the Sharjah Prize for Library Literature, which went to three Egyptian academicians and researchers this year. Winners are Dr. Abdul Rahman Faraj, who was given the award for his research paper, ‘Online Digital Arabic Content Available on Open (Free) Access Basis’; Dr. Nermine Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim Al Labban, for her research paper titled, ‘The Role of Partnerships: Nurturing the Value of Knowledge Generated by Heritage Digital Archiving Projects’; and finally, Dr. Muhammad Fathi Al Jallab, for his research paper titled, ‘Integration between Library and Information Science and other Sciences and their Role in Creating New Knowledge Resources’.
The Sharjah Prize for Library Literature is a key award that recognises excellence in the region’s library sector. It seeks to promote new research and studies in the library, documentation, archiving and other information fields. The award’s objective is to heighten awareness about the instrumental role played by libraries in bolstering the cultural and research movement in the Arab world, and shed light on the need to incentivise researchers and academics to pursue innovation, especially in the digital field, to promote new developments in the library sector.
During his tour, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi also visited the two brand new exhibitions that SCRF 2019 has curated, namely, ‘Travelling the Silk Road’ that has recreated the most celebrated trade route in history and its influence on the world across centuries; and, ‘Voyage to the Deep’, an interactive exhibition that brings to life the deep-sea adventures of Captain Nemo, his fantastical Nautilus submarine and the mythical world he inhabited.
SCRF 2019 has offered an ideal platform to Sharjah’s continued pursuit of promoting community awareness around children’s safety and wellbeing. Three awareness-themed titles based on various topics relating to children’s safety have been released at the festival in the Sharjah Ruler’s presence. A collaborative effort by the Child Safety Department of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah with Kalimat Publishing, which has been supported by the ‘1001 Titles’ publishing initiative, the books titled Morning Race by Reem Al Gurg, Masoud the Champion by Sahar Naja Mahfouz, and Picnic in the Souq by Sabah Deibi, have been released in Arabic and Braille languages.
Before concluding his SCRF 2019 tour, Sheikh Sultan visited some of the ongoing workshops and children’s activities, and engaged with young school goers and encouraged them to continue being passionate about learning, and expressing themselves creatively at such platforms dedicated to them.
This largest and most important event of its kind in the Middle East features educational activities in both Arabic and English, as well as international film screenings, musicals and theatre performances that have been brought to the event for the first time in the following languages – Arabic, English, Hindi and Urdu.
167 publishers from 18 countries are participating at SCRF 2019, of which 62 are from the UAE, 25 from Lebanon and 12 from Egypt.
The Festival is supported by a host of sponsors and partners including Etisalat (official sponsor), Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (official media partner), Abu Dhabi Media (media partner) Sharjah Expo Centre (strategic partner).
Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival seeks to foster reading as a robust habit in children and young adults, and provides artists and illustrators a unique platform to showcase their works. Hosting leading child organisations and centers, SCRF is a comprehensive cultural event that inspires not only children, but extends the joy of reading to visitors of all age groups.