SCRF: Adults find the child in them at the reading festival for children - GulfToday

SCRF: Adults find the child in them at the reading festival for children


Latifa AlMusharrekh with a child artist.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

One of the prominent booths at the 15th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF, May 1 – 12 at Sharjah Expo) is that hosted by Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA). Established in 2018, it represents the local authority that regulates, follows up and supervises the affairs of private educational institutions (nurseries, schools, centres and institutes) in Sharjah emirate. Latifa AlMusharrekh, Administrator in SPEA, noted that the Authority was taking part third time in the fest. “If any parent has questions, they can approach us for clarifications,” she said. She said that SPEA regularly took part in event majors such as Sharjah International Book Fair, BETT (British Educational Training & Technology) show and GESS Dubai Education Exhibition and Conference plus UAE Schools and Nursery shows.

Meeting visitors at the Department of Culture, Government of Sharjah is Sara Abdeljalil Alblooshi, who is English-Arabic Editor in the Social Media section of the organisation. “We encourage writers to publish their stories so they can publish even more,” she said. About SCRF she said that nowadays children are on their iPads more than into their reading books. “We feel that SCRF, which incorporates workshops and interactive activities, will encourage them read books.” Macbeth Publications and Media LLP is a comparatively new literary platform. Owned by woman writer and publisher, M. A. Shahanas, it has office spaces in Calicut (Kozhikode), Kerala State, India, and Sharjah. “For children and adults, we provide a platform to promote their writings such as short stories, novels, essays, resources for study, literature, etc. in Malayalam, English, Hindi, and Arabic. Our media centre programmes focus on arts such as album songs,” it says.

Shahanas, who is present at SCRF, said that it was the second time she was taking part in the event. “Many children are coming to the festival,” she said. “Attending workshops and activities directed to them will increase their learning capacity and taste for reading.” There is something at SCRF to suit the taste of every child, she said. Even the stalls are built for children. “Spaces for children’s fashion, cookery and also computer assembling have been thoughtfully provided. At SCRF, children can not only read, but also see books!” she emphasised. “The goal here is to bring up children responsibly.”

Sara Abdeljalil Alblooshi at SCRF.

Among the children’s books Macbeth is presenting is Khushi, written by Sadiq Kavil and translated by Bhaskar Raj. “Sadiq Kavil’s novel Khushi is a commendable literary attempt to inculcate environmental awareness among children and enlighten them on the infinite diversity of mother nature,” says Benyamin, well-known Indian writer in Malayalam, on the cover. Another children’s volume is The Adventures of Alko Batterio or The Tale of a Battery’s Life Cycle by Saira Thomas. The author is a 12-year-old from Cambridge International School, Dubai. She is very passionate about nature and uses her literary skills to spread awareness on environmental issues.

The Kalimat Group, launched in 2007 as a publishing house for children’s books, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, the Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work and Sharjah Libraries, are also having their stands at SCRF. Abdullah Daoud, who was at the Sharjah Libraries space, said that it had six branches. Iqra Book Center, Sri Lanka, is a first time exhibitor at SCRF, noted Irshad, who was at its booth. Iqra publishes schools and general books and also Islamic books. “The vision of Iqra Book Center is providing high quality books at reasonable prices for everyone to create a moral society,” says its catalogue.

Shehzad, Operations Manager, At Two Books, said that SCRF provided good business opportunities, since reading activities were on the upsurge. School students were arriving in large numbers, he noted. At Two Books is a fourth time participant at SCRF. Chanayil Narayanankutty Menon, Manager of Lipi Publications (M. V. Akbar is Managing Director), said that it was the first time Lipi was at SCRF. Among the books it is offering is Shining Amethyst, which was released at the festival. Written by Daksha Ranjit Nair, a 15-year-old student in Dubai’s Millennium School, it is a collection of 25 poems. Lipi Publications is based in Kozhikode.

M.A.Shahanas at the Macbeth stand.

The Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC, concluded May 5) was a place where even strangers bonded over art and other creative pursuits.  Olfa Berhouma-Sakakibara, an animation producer who was part of SAC, said that “we’re keen on bringing Japanese animation to global audiences, particularly in Europe and the Middle East.” He added that “in Japan, we might be some of the last artists working with paper. But despite its challenges, there’s something special about traditional methods. Yet, we’re also embracing digital to preserve and evolve our craft.”

SAC, in its second edition this year, is fast becoming a key highlight of the nation’s annual cultural calendar. Families with young ones, industry experts, budding artists, gnarled veterans of the trade, art enthusiasts and the merely curious, have visited it to find inspiration or just bask in the creativity and ingenuity that was extended. Character animator Nik Raneiri patiently obliged a long queue of admirers, who wanted a sketch by him. Using different pens – and strokes – for different people, he is primarily known for his work at Walt Disney Animation Studios. There was a long line too at scribble artist Tony’s desk. He is from Nigeria; give him an idea or picture, it will be transformed into a different but identifiable drawing through a mesh of scribbles.



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