Discover Friends for Life – that’s the tagline of the sixth edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. Aimed at igniting children’s imaginations, the festival has a mind-boggling 1,694 events lined up. And, like every year, all these events are free.
Starting today, the 11-day festival will see the participation of 124 publishers from 17 countries, plus 30 bestselling children’s authors come together at Sharjah’s Expo Centre.
Children will get to hear stories, play games, learn photography, watch films and even improve their maths besides reading books from the huge range available.
One of the highlights of the festival is the UK-based interactive exhibition 1001 Inventions, which chronicles a thousand years of scientific and cultural achievements during the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation. An introductory film, 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, starring Ben Kingsley, will be screened during the month-long exhibition.
The best-selling authors descending on Sharjah include Britain’s Andy Stanton and Tony De Saulles and the American Fawzia Gilani-Williams.
Stanton's funny Mr Gum series has sold more than a million copies and won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
Gilani-Williams has written several Eid stories for children, as well as Islamic retellings of fairy tales such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. Sweden's Anna Karen and Hanna Anderson will teach children how to make short animations using paper cut-outs, toys and photos from magazines.
A range of talks on children’s literature promises to be of interest to adults, too. These include sessions on The Art of Writing A Story for Children and Children’s Stories in Emirati Literature.
The Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival runs from April 15-25. For the full schedule, visit www.scrf.ae