Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival: 45 writers to tackle challenges facing young readers

School visits to the Festival at Expo Centre Sharjah are a mainstay of the event
Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The upcoming 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) is set to showcase literary talent and creativity, uniting 45 authors and experts from 14 Arab countries.

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The 12-day cultural extravaganza will spotlight the creative prowess in children’s and young adult literature, spanning an extensive mix of genres, including science fiction, history, gripping mysteries, thrilling adventures, and transformative educational books.

The festival, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) at Expo Centre Sharjah from May 1 to 12 under the theme ‘Once Upon a Hero’, offers unique opportunities to meet distinguished award-winning Emirati and Arab guests. The distinguished guests will lead discussions that spotlight the issues and challenges in children’s and young adult literature, offering insights that help overcome them and shape the future of this vital sector.

The festival will host prominent Emirati writers, including Nadia Al Najjar, a key figure in children’s literature. Al Najjar will provide deep insights into the cultural impact of stories on youth. She also serves as an advisory member of the UAE Board on Books for Young People and recipient of the Sharjah Book Fair Award for Best Emirati Book.

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She will be joined by Aisha Bati Al Shamsi, specialising in child care and education and director of the Fann Training and Consulting Centre, to share her expertise, particularly in developing early childhood curricula and national standards, and her contributions to literature in child education.

Noura Khouri will join the discussions and share her expertise in children’s literature. She integrates her writing with her volunteer work in motherhood and early childhood and emphasises the UAE’s natural environment and cultural heritage.

SCRF will host Dr Taleb Omran from Syria, a prominent figure in the Arab science fiction realm, providing insights into the genre’s role in cultivating awareness and culture among children. His work encompasses a wide array of genres, spanning books, studies, children’s literature, short stories, and novels.

He will be joined by Dr Al-Eid Jalouli, an Algerian academic who works as a professor of Arabic and children’s literature. He possesses a vast library of works in literature, criticism, language, culture, and children’s literature. His exceptional research papers, which he presented at the International Conference on the Arabic Language in Dubai, earned him a prestigious accolade.

From Oman, Dr Wafa Al Shamsi, an academic at the United Arab Emirates University specialising in children’s and young adult literature, will join the discussions and share her extensive experience in printed and broadcast media. She has authored over 50 printed stories and 60 in various radio and television programmes.