This unique initiative is in parallel to Sharjah’s larger cultural participation as the 32nd Moscow International Book Fair’s “Guest City”.
The Sharjah-based non-profit, Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment, KF, has contributed a diverse collection of Arabic books to the Russian State Children’s Library, to offer children of Arab origin in Russia quality literature in their mother tongue.
This is part of KF’s “Pledge a Library” initiative, which seeks to offer Arab refugee children and those who live in less fortunate communities, access to books. The foundation also helps children develop a fondness for their language and heritage even if they are away from their homelands.
This unique initiative is in parallel to Sharjah’s larger cultural participation as the 32nd Moscow International Book Fair’s “Guest City”, through which the emirate has been sharing with Russians and people from other nationalities the rich heritage and achievements in Emirati and Arab culture.
Amna Al Mazmi, Manager of KF, said, “Latest statistics reveal that 40,000 people of Arab descent live in the Russian Federation, among which 25 per cent live in Moscow. These figures demonstrate the value of an initiative such as ours to enrich the knowledge and literary experiences of the Arab community in Russia, especially for the younger generations who are born there. Our books will help them form a connection with their own culture. Additionally, the books will also satiate the growing interest among the Russian community to learn Arabic and teach their children too.”
Maria Vediniapina, Director of the Russian State Children’s Library, said, “The Russian State Children’s Library extends its profound appreciation to the Kalimat Foundation for its valuable gift of a unique collection of high-quality children’s books, which add so much value to our library’s resources with more foreign-language content, amazing illustrations and new printing techniques.”
The Russian State Children’s Library is the nation’s largest repository of children’s literature, visited annually by 45,000 people, with another 1.2 million accessing its website.
Earlier this year, Kalimat announced the release of its six new titles at the 11th edition of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, SCRF, being organised by Sharjah Book Authority, SBA. The festival was running from 17th – 27th April at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The newly published books have been written by prominent Arabic and International authors, and include Kalimat’s first silent book ‘’Al Hawa’’ by illustrator Fransisca Del Orto, along with other titles including ‘’My Crazy Socks’’ by Hanada Taha, ‘’Fushtakato’’ by Mariam Al Jamal, ‘’The Big Blue Sea’’ by Shame’ Khan, ‘’Fire Storm’’, and ‘’Operation Rhino’’ by Lauren St John.
Marking the entry of Kalimat into the category of silent books, ‘’Al Hawa’’ expresses the idea of love in terms of forgetting, falling, and feeling love again. The story is told in form of a unique love story the embodies the idea of being consumed with life’s worries and troubles, and not being able to live up one’s dreams. However, a determination to succeed and continue to keep the dreams alive, saves the love story.
The other title ‘’My Crazy Socks’’ is a story of colorful and funny shaped socks, while ‘’Fushtakato’’ tells the story of a girl named Nagham, who is bored and insecure because everyone around her is busy with her new born little sister. Nagham takes to the habit of biting her nails, to seek attention. Later her mother comes up with a strange idea to help her get rid of this problem and she manages to have beautiful nails again. The core idea of the story explores the mind of the children in a very engaging way.
Another one in the list is an educative and entertaining board book targeting toddlers named ‘’The Big Blue Sea’’, introduces readers to various species of marine animals in the Arabian Gulf. The book uses ‘memorization by repetition’ as a tool to encourage reading and remembering the story, and increases their self-confidence.
For young adult readers, ‘’Fire Storm’’ is the last of Lauren St John’s One Dollar Horse Series.