'World Book Capital': Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi releases new book for children

The president of the International Publishers Association aims to introduce young people to the decades-old Unesco initiative

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, founder and chief executive of Kalimat Group and president of the International Publishers Association, released her latest children's book, World Book Capital, at the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival this weekend.

English and Arabic editions of the book will be published by Kalimat Publishing and it will introduce young people to the concept of the World Book Capital, a global initiative by Unesco, through engaging writing and beautiful illustrations by Denise Damanti.

The World Book Capital is a title annually bestowed by Unesco on a different city, which then hosts activities throughout the year to encourage its residents to read.

Sharjah claimed the accolade in 2019 in recognition of the emirate's efforts to promote the written word and literacy. This year, the title went to Tbilisi, Georgia, at a ceremony held on April 23, coinciding with World Book and Copyright Day.

Sheikha Bodour’s new book will educate young readers on all of the cities that have won the title since the initiative’s inception in 2001.

Her work was unveiled on Friday at an interactive session for young visitors to Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, which is running under the theme For Your Imagination. During the event, Sheikha Bodour read extracts and signed copies for the children.

The 11-day festival, which is being hosted in person and online, began on Wednesday and will run until Saturday at the Expo Sharjah Centre. For the first time, sessions will also be held in other emirates, including Dubai.

In total, 27 authors from 15 countries are taking part alongside 172 publishers and more than 500 activities are planned, including a series of theatrical shows and workshops, as well as cookery sessions and a literary competition, among others.

Sharjah has long since established itself as a hub for publishers and readers in the region, and Sheikha Bodour is the first Arab woman to be named president of the IPA in its 125-year history.