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Sharjah’s children welcome reading festival today
By a staff reporter April 15, 2014
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Sharjah: The sixth Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) will kick off today at Expo Centre Sharjah with the participation of 124 publishing houses from 17 countries.

The festival features 1,694 events to be presented by 175 guests. The Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations and the 1001 Inventions Exhibition will be held alongside the festival, which will also include a rich cultural programme.

Activities also include the “Cookery Corner”, in which a number of top international chefs are taking part, as well as the kids programme, which carries a great deal of educational value, with its planned educational and entertainment activities.

The kids programme features a wide range of 875 fun activities for children, including art workshops dedicated to developing children’s art talents by engaging them in hands-on training to learn how to draw on sand, mosaic art, ornaments and decoration, Arabic calligraphy, and the art of paper folding. It further includes hands-on training aimed at helping children stimulate and improve their memories and develop their cognitive skills through chess, mathematics and logic.

The festival comprises a number of lectures on children’s rights and how to avoid child abuse and report abuse to relevant authorities.

Other events include theatrical performances, film screenings, reading sessions, creative activities, and discussions covering various environmental, heritage, health and scientific topics, as well as diverse competitions.

The festival will also allow children to present discussions, lectures and talks, while interacting with each other in dialogue sessions through the new programme, “The Creative Youth Café”, which will be held for the first time with the participation of 33 boys and girls who will present 20 symposia throughout the 11 days.

The cultural programme will feature 30 symposia and panel discussions to help enrich children’s literature. They will be moderated by researchers, intellectuals, writers, artists, media executives and academicians from Arab and foreign countries.

Among these panel discussions are “Culture and Development of Future Children”, “The Role of Internet in Bringing up Children”, “Children’s Songs and Shaping of Identity “, Popular Games and National Personality”, “The Traditional/Folk Tale in the Age of Internet”, “Animations-Specifications and Features”, “Laughter Therapy: the Importance of Laughter for Children”, and “Children’s Stories between Heritage and Scientific Fiction”.

Children will get the chance to learn cooking skills and how to prepare healthy food through “The Cookery Corner”, which will be presented by top eight celebrity chefs and nutrition experts, most notably famous British chef Leila Fanelli who showcases her products at Harrods Store in London, and Will Torrent, the winner of the small chef award in Britain in 2009.

The list of celebrity chefs also include Bahraini chef and writer Mona AL Hassan, Australian Master Chef Callum Hann, who is the author of “The Starter Kitchen”, and American Chef Monica Bedi, who wrote a number of books about spices, and British nutritionist and diet expert Gene Tchichi.

On the sidelines of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, the third Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrators will also be held.

It will comprise hundreds of professional artworks and illustrations submitted by 96 professional artists from around the world.

During the exhibition, the winning works will be announced, selected from the submissions of professional illustrators who competed to win cash prizes worth a total of $21,000.

The festival will furthermore host an award-winning exhibition from the UK-based organisation “1001 Inventions”.

The interactive exhibition called “1001 Inventions - Discovering Our Past - Inspiring Our Future” aims to highlight a thousand years of scientific and cultural achievements during the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation.

The exhibition will feature a wide range of educational activities that use high-end engagement techniques to suit all members of the family, introducing them to the most important achievements and breakthroughs of Muslim Civilisation in a fun and interactive manner. “1001 Inventions” aims to inspire people to follow in the footsteps of those inventors and discoverers as role models for them, so as to build a better future.

An elite group of over 175 top writers, intellectuals, artists and academicians from the UAE and beyond, who will enrich the festival with various discussions, talks, and activities, will be present at the festival.

The list of Arab guests include Egyptian writer Amal Farah, the winner of the Unesco International Prize for children’s literature in the service of tolerance, Iraqi writer and poet Jalil Khazaal, Bahraini novelist Abdul Qader Aqeel, Egyptian writer and poet Samir Abdul Baqi, Syrian magazine editor Bayan Al Safadi (of Usama magazine), and Egyptian Writer, novelist and playwright Mahmoud Qassim.

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