Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Publishing Group, and the Honorary President of the UAE Board on Books for Young People, today inaugurated the seventh edition of Sharjah Children's Reading Festival at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Upon his arrival, the Ruler of Sharjah was welcome by a group of children, who expressed deep appreciation for his patronage and presence at this event. After the inauguration ceremony, Sheikh Sultan toured the halls of the festival, exploring the various sections and pavilions, where he was briefed on the latest children publications by the Department.
He also visited a number of booths for Arabic and international publishers, inviting these publishers to carry on with their emphasis on children books, which form an important educational tool for tomorrow's generation. The tour also covered the booths of Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature, and Kalimat Publishing, where His Highness was briefed on the publications of Kalimat and Horouf Educational Publishing.
Sheikh Sultan also visited booths of a number of cultural institutions and government agencies, as well as some local, Arab and international publishing houses.
He donated Dh 2 million to support the publishing houses participating in the festival. The grant will be used to buy books from publishers and donate them to public libraries and cultural institutions in the Emirate.
During his visit to the booth of the UAE Board on Books for Young People, the Ruler of Sharjah launched the "Children Libraries Enabling Project", which aims at activating children libraries and availing support to them to create an attractive environment for children and their families.
He also inaugurated the "Air Library initiative" at the pavilion of Knowledge Without Borders. The initiative includes offering passengers traveling aboard Al Arabia Airlines on its long trips books to read, aiming at instilling the culture of reading in everyone's lifestyle.
This year's edition of the festival is held under the theme "Discover my City", and will include 2028 activities in culture, education, art, and health. The festival has gathered participation from 109 publishers from 15 countries around the world, and will see the presence of tens of cultural, educational, academic, and media figures interested in promoting children welfare.
Sheikh Sultan inaugurated the fourth edition of Sharjah Exhibition for Children Books' Illustrations, held on the side-lines of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival with the participation of 385 works of art by 134 artists from 31 Arab and foreign countries. The festival aims at promoting a highly talented art culture focusing on artists as the visual story teller and a main contributor to children literature.
The Ruler of Sharjah also visited the T.rex: The Killer Question exhibition hosted for the first time in Sharjah in collaboration with the Museum of Natural History in the United Kingdom. The exhibition is considered the largest of its kind for these creatures that have been extinct for millions of years. He was briefed on the pieces in display and information about the world of dinosaurs, presented in a scientific and simplified manner attractive for children and adults alike, both in Arabic and English. The show is a valuable addition to natural history, featuring high scrutiny in its scientific value.
The Ruler of Sharjah graciously honoured the winners of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children Books' Illustrations Awards, worth Dh77, 000. The awards went to Wen Di Tan from Malaysia in the first place, followed by Janko Nagano from Japan in second place, and Beatrice Martin Trsenau from Spain in the third place. Consolation prizes went to Hussein Alnakhal and David Habashi from Lebanon, Mariacarrila Taroni from Italy, and Ali Bodhira from Iran. The awards also honoured participant artists in the solo exhibitions: Sarah Tyson from Canada, Eric Roland from France, and Latifa Ahli from the UAE.
Sheikh Sultan also honoured the winners of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival 2015 Awards. Winner of the first place of Arabic children books for ages 4-12 was "Between this and that", a book by Hassan Abdulla. Arabic Adolescents Books Award for ages 13-17 went to "My Friend the Brain Retarded" by Dr. Abeer Mohamad Anwar. The Foreign Children Book Award for ages 7-13 went to "The Talking Handkerchief" by Anjana Vaswani. Consolation Award for best Book for the Visually Impaired went to "Arnoob and His Sharp teeth", a book by the Early Intervention Centre at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.
Sharjah Award for Library Literature in its 15th edition, which had the theme "Historical Transformations in the Arab Islamic Library", went to Ateeqa Abdulrazzaq for her research paper titled: "Historical Transformations in the Arab Islamic Library and their effect on Civilisations".
Second place went to Ahmed Adel Zidan Faraj for his research paper titled "Endowment and its role in the cultural structure of the Arabic Islamic Library, UAE a model", while the third place award went to Mohammad Sami Adli Ibrahim Alqadi, for his research paper titled "Historical transformations in Al-Azhar Mosque library since the Fatimid era until modern days".
Attendance of the opening ceremony of the festival, which was held for the first time under the umbrella of Sharjah Book Authority, included Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development in Sharjah, as well as a number of Arab Ministers of Culture. The attendance also included Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Owais, Director-General of the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA Chairman, Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Engineer Dr. Rashid Alleem, President of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, Hisham Al Madhloum, President of Sharjah Literature and Art Department, Musabbeh Al Kaabi, President of Sharjah Education Council, Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, Head of Hospitality and Protocol, Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of Environment and Protected Areas Authority, Major General Saif Mohammed Alziri Al Shamsi, Commander in Chief of Sharjah Police, and Marwan Al Sawalih, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Education, as well as other guests and dignitaries.
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA Chairman, said that "The continuous support from the Ruler of Sharjah to the festival, as well as the directions and follow up of his wife H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, are invaluable to the success of this festival. This support has turned the festival to the leading family event promoting the culture of knowledge and understanding, and helping children reach their potential in creativity and cognitive abilities."
to some of the most prominent figures in children literature, which also give it a high potential to become the definite platform for children for self-expression and exploration.
For her part, Hind Abdullah Lenaid, Senior Manager - Exhibitions and festivals at Sharjah Book Authority, highlighted that this year's theme "Discover my City" will be translated in many of the activities organised in parallel to the festival. These activities will help children explore Sharjah and enjoy its remarkable monuments, thus preparing them to take part in the drawing competition where they are required to imagine how the city will look like in the future."