The U.A.E. Board on Books for Young People, UAEBBY, has announced the shortlists of books nominated to win the 6th edition of the Dh1 million Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature. The winners will be announced during the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which will take place in November.
The announcement was made in the presence of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Honorary President of the UAEBBY, Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager in the Northern Emirates at Etisalat, and Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board, during the UAEBBY's participation in Frankfurt International Book Fair, which is running between 8-12 October.
The UAEBBY judging panel announced the shortlist of books in the five categories. The shortlisted books in the Children's Book of the Year category are, in alphabetical order (in Arabic): ‘My Mom Loves Fattoosh', published by Academia International, written by Eva Kosma and illustrated by Azza Hussein; ‘The Pomegranate Girl', published by Academia International, written by Rania Zbib Daher and illustrated by Joelle Achkar; ‘Naughty Kitty', published by Dar Al Yasmine, written by Abeer Ibrahim Taher and illustrated by Maya Fidawi; ‘The Paper of Life', published by Al Aalam Al Arabi Publishing House, written by Ameera Ibrahim Al Marzouqi and illustrated by Ahmed Solaiman Mahmoud.
The Shortlisted books in the Young Adult Book of the Year category, in alphabetical order, are: ‘Pizarro and the Pirates', published by Kadi and Ramadi, written by Nadia Al Shehri; ‘Extraordinary Journeys to Unknown Places', published by Tamer Institute and written by Sonia Nimr; ‘One Year in Qena', published by Al Balsam Publishing House and written by Hadil Ghoneim; ‘Hawk Eye Mystery', published by Al Salwa Publishers and written by Taghreed Arif Al Najjar; and ‘The Night of Fire', published by Nahdet Misr Publishing House and written by Yacoub el-Sharouny.
The shortlisted books in Best Text category are: ‘My Mom Loves Fattoosh', ‘The Pomegranate Girl', ‘Clever Walker', published by Al Hadaek Group, written by Nabiha Mheidly and illustrated by Hassan Zahreddine; and ‘Kamal and Shukri', published by Al Shorouk Publishing House, written and illustrated by Walid Taher. Four books are shortlisted for Best Illustration. They are ‘My Mom Loves Fattoosh'; ‘The Pomegranate Girl', ‘Clever Walker' and ‘The Paper of Life'. The four books shortlisted in the Best Production category are: ‘Feast in a Teapot', published by Kadi and Ramadi, written by Nouf Abdullah Al Osaimi and illustrated by Lujaina Sami Al Aseel, ‘The Pomegranate Girl', ‘Clever Walker', and ‘The Man who Makes the Cherry Trees Blossom', published by Turning Point, written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Maya Fidawi.
Sheikha Bodour commented, "We are thrilled with the great success made achieved by the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature in its 6th edition. We are extremely impressed by the quality of entries this year, which reflect an outstanding development in children's book industry in the Arab world, not only in terms of the high quality of the texts, but also in terms of the beautiful illustrations and distinctive production which makes these books an attractive resources that are able to compete with the modern technology's resources".
For his part, Taryam expressed Etisalat's pride in sponsoring this high-level literary award, which has become the most prestigious children's literature award in the Arab region. He pointed out that Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature seeks to recognise outstanding children's books and honour the best authors, illustrators, and producers, with the aim to develop this thriving cultural industry. He added: "The books included in the shortlists of selected books for the 6th edition's award showed a group of talented and creative authors and illustrators in the Arab region, who are able to produce wonderful books that attract children to read and make reading a daily habit in their lives. This makes us even more proud of the success being achieved by the prize." The Dh1 million Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature is distributed as follows: Dh 300,000 for the Children's Book of the year, to be distributed equally between the author, illustrator and publisher (Dh 100,000 each); Dh 200,000 for the Young Adult Book of the year, to be distributed equally between the author and publisher (100,000 Dh each); and 300,000 Dh for the Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production categories (100,000 Dh each).
The Award has allocated the remaining 200,000 Dh for organising a series of writing, illustration, and production workshops aimed at nurturing talents and inspiring the next generation of young talented Arabs in the children's book industry.
The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature was launched in 2009 by UAEBBY Founder and Patron Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi with the aim of fostering a culture of reading and instilling a love of Arabic books into children by giving recognition to the best works of authors, illustrators, and publishers in the field of children's books industry and thereby encouraging the creation of increased numbers of good quality Arabic children's books.