Why more than 157,000 people thronged Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

The Festival ran for 12 days till May 12 at Expo Centre Sharjah
Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: As many as 157,381 visitors thronged the 12-day Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), which ended on Sunday.

The figure was announced on Monday by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), which organised the Festival’s 15th edition under the theme ‘Once Upon a Hero’, at Expo Centre Sharjah.

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SCRF hosted over 1,500 activities including workshops, panel discussions, and performances, spanning various domains such as literature, arts, sports, technology, illustration, music, and more. The Festival also welcomed 186 publishers from 20 countries.

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, said: “Every child who smiled or learnt something at the event, each story that was told and each book children brought home, are a testament to the fundamental role Sharjah plays in nurturing young minds who will lead us into our future. It also reinforces our commitment towards creating a knowledge-based society based on the pillars of culture and inclusive, sustainable development.”

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Annual tradition

“We love coming here every year because of not just the books on display but also the host of activities and shows for kids,” said Sharjah-based engineer Sivraman K, who visited this year’s SCRF on the penultimate day along with his wife Lakshmipriya and three children – Krithya, nine, Dhaanya, six, and Dhruvan, three.

“This is the place to be for our entire family and this time we were absolutely floored by some of the new shows the festival introduced,” he added, referring to innovative interactive shows like ‘Wonder Walks’ and the ‘Moon Walker’.

“We’ve been attending SCRF for as long as I can remember, and it just keeps getting bigger and better every year,” said Nada Al Hammadi, who came down to the SCRF 2024 with her four children – Mansoor, 11, Mohammed, nine, Salah, six, and Bodour, four – and husband Saqir Al Marzooqi.

“There’s always so much to see and do, from storytelling sessions and puppet shows to interactive workshops and panel discussions. It’s a fantastic opportunity for children to explore the world of books and develop a love for reading while also learning new skills at the various workshops.”

Poetry Knights

A highlight of the Festival was announcing the winners of the 12th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Award, alongside the Poetry Knight Competition.

Latifa Al Kitbi was announced first-place winner of the 12th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Award, second place went to Jury Al Mazmi, and Munira Al Kaabi came in third place.

The Comics Corner at the festival curated 132 activities, including workshops and panel discussions led by 31 creatives from four countries. Simultaneously, the Cookery Corner hosted 60 informative seminars and 36 live cooking sessions conducted by 25 chefs and experts from 12 countries.