Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival hosts over 200,000 - GulfToday

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival hosts over 200,000


The festival delighted children, capturing their imagination.

Having welcomed over 200,000 visitors to a gala, 11-day celebration of books, culture and knowledge, Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2019) closed curtains on its 11th edition on Saturday.

The festival was organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), and held under the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA).

Themed ‘Explore Knowledge’, the event ran from 17-27 April 2019, at the Sharjah Expo Centre. In addition to bringing 167 publishers from 18 countries around the world under its roof, the festival hosted 198 guests from 56 countries and featured 2,546 activities, in addition to a series of film screenings and theatrical performances.

Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA underscored that books represent a true window into life, pointing out the instrumental role of knowledge in honing children’s skills and giving them insights into the gems of sciences and arts. He remarked that SCRF is the culmination of the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and the support of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah, who believed that building strong generations takes instilling knowledge in them from an early age.

“Each year, we enable the youth to turn a new page in the book of life through this event. We were keen to include all that can benefit children and young adults, ignite their imagination, develop their intellectuality and wisdom. We believe that giving children access to sources of knowledge and arts is a significant enabler to secure their future. Discoveries they make through books and gaining new knowledge keeps alive their willingness to explore everything around them passionately. This is why we were keen to dedicate many events and activities to encourage their intellectual pursuit,” he remarked.

Khoula Al-Mujaini, Director of Fairs and Festivals at SBA, said: “In these 11 days, the festival spared no efforts to ignite children’s curiosity and creativity, and develop their awareness and knowledge. This has been our central focus, since the inception of SCRF 11 years ago. This edition has continued to draw children’s attention to books, culture and the arts. The theme of this year’s edition, ‘Explore Knowledge’ presented a pathway to lead the young visitors towards creativity, broadened their horizons, and kept their minds occupied with the wonder of reading and learning.”

New exhibitions held for the first time

This year, the festival captured visitors’ imagination with two brand new exhibition. The first one, called ‘Traveling the Silk Road’, offered a gateway into the most celebrated trade route in history; the Silk Road. The exhibition included 176 activities. The second exhibition, titled ‘Voyage to the Deep’, was adapted from the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. The exhibition featured a whopping 231 events and activations.

A matrix of events and activities

The festival saw 50 cultural activities conducted by 76 guests from 26 countries. Around 1,806 activities were enlisted on the children’s cultural programme, which was presented by 59 guests from 21 countries. A series of the theatre shows were performed by a stellar host of artists and actors in four languages, Arabic, English, Indian and Urdu. Popular theatre productions included Al Qatawa, Chacha Chhakkan in Action, Big B, among others.

The festival organised the 8th edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations, with 320 artists and illustrators from 55 countries. The exhibition hosted the ‘Ufuq’ platform, which was launched last year with aim to bring together publishers and illustrators, and offer them the opportunity to forge effective partnerships that can improve the children’s book industry.

The platform has attracted 69 applications from Arab and international artists who aspire to make the most of the opportunities offered by it. Several cooperation agreements in various publishing fields including production, content writing or printing, were also signed on the Horizon platform.

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