Sharjah Ruler Inaugurates 15th Annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Sharjah Ruler inaugurates 15th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Sharjah: (Pakistan Point News - 1 May, 2024)
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2024) on Wednesday.
Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the festival is themed ‘Once Upon a Hero’ and will run until May 12th at the Expo Centre Sharjah. The Ruler of Sharjah was warmly received by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SBA, marking the official opening of the festival.
Attended by a distinguished gathering of dignitaries, the event welcomed Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler's Office; Sheikh Faisal bin Saud Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah International Airport Authority; Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed, Chairman of the UAE National Media Office; and several heads and directors of government departments and institutions, intellectuals, authors, and media representatives.
The Ruler of Sharjah graces the diverse SCRF pavilions
A highlight of the opening was the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was followed by a musical performance by a group from Sharjah, who sang in praise of His Highness. During his tour of SCRF, His Highness witnessed a selection of the 186 Arab and foreign publishers from 20 countries, which will host more than 1,500 cultural, artistic, and edutainment activities led by 265 guests from 25 countries, including prominent writers, artists, publishers, and illustrators.
During the tour, His Highness graced the pavilions of the Sharjah Private Education Authority, the Emirates Publishers Association, the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, and the UAE Board on Books for Young People, where he was briefed on their major cultural and educational activities that promote reading among children. His Highness also received details on strategies, programmes, and publications as he visited the pavilions of the House of Wisdom, Rubu' Qarn for Creating Future Leaders and Innovators, the Sharjah Social Services Department, and Sharjah Public Libraries.

Completing the tour, His Highness visited the pavilions of the Department of Culture, Menassah Distribution Company, Mohammed bin Rashid Library, Kalimat Group, and the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, where he was briefed on their cultural efforts in supporting books, writers, and publishing.
Recognition of achievements
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah presented honours to the winners of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival Award and the Sharjah Children's Book Illustration Award. The first place was secured by Kyoung mi Ahn from South Korea, followed by Juan Carlos Palomino from Mexico in second place, and Daniela Stamatiadi from Greece in third. His Highness also recognized the winners of three encouragement prizes: Montserrat Batet Creixell from Spain, Santiago Solís from Mexico, and Mitra Abdollahi from Iran.
Furthermore, His Highness acknowledged winners of the Sharjah Children's Book Award across various categories, each prize valued at AED 20,000. Among them, Author Maitha Al Khayyat from the UAE clinched the award for her book “I will Hunt my Breakfast,” illustrated by Gustavo Aimar and published by Kalimat Group in the Children’s Book in Arabic (ages 4 to 12) category. The Young Adults’ Book in Arabic (ages 13 to 17) category went to Dr. Tariq Al Bakri from Lebanon for "The Buried Secret," illustrated by Fadi Fadel and published by Kalimat Group, receiving the award on his behalf was Manal Mahjoub, editor of Kalimat Group; while the International Children’s Book (ages 7 to 13) category was awarded to Julia Johnson for the title "Aisha’s Pearl," published by ELF Publishing.

His Highness recognised the winner of the Sharjah Audio Book Award, Author Lina Mustafa Al-Zebaq from Syria for her book “My grandmother's hug” published by Al-Zebaq Publishing; additionally to honour distinguished works facilitating visually impaired individuals' access to knowledge and their integration into society the award of Books for Visually Impaired Children Award was presented to Brigadier General Dr. Muhammad Khamis Al Othmani from the UAE for his book "Seven Sanabel," published by Sharjah Police Science Academy.
Promotion of reading and cultural enrichment
This edition of the festival emphasises reading as a fundamental tool for shaping a brighter future for children and nurturing a generation that values its transformative and developmental potential in society. It fosters creative thinking and innovation through events led by esteemed writers, illustrators, and publishers who share their knowledge, works, and experiences.
Cultural agenda and activities
The festival, hosting 265 guests, offers a plethora of workshops for children covering topics such as sustainability, fashion, crafts, and music. It also boasts 12 performances, including theatre shows and roaming performances by 19 participants from 12 countries.

Furthermore, the cultural program includes various panel discussions focusing on developing children's communication skills, with 70 guests from 25 countries participating. Throughout the festival, the Poetry Knight competition will encourage children and young adults to recite Arabic poetry engagingly, featuring three categories: primary school students (grades 1 to 4), middle school students (grades 5 to 8), and high school students (grades 9 to 12).