‘Read,Dream, Create’is the theme of an array of interactions taking place at the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY)Corner at the eighth edition of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival(SCRF), which is running from April 20-30 at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The Sharjah-based literary and cultural organisation is using its participation at the region’s leading book event for young people by hosting an array ofreading sessions and workshops that aim to promote reading as a noble habit in the Emirati community.
The most significant of the reading sessions being performed at the UAEBBY Corner saw a group of volunteers taking part in the ‘Arab Reading Challenge’ (ARC) initiative.Launched byHis Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, ARC is the largest Arab project to encourage students in the Arab world to read. It aims to have more than one million Arab studentsread 50 million books during their academic year.
The UAEBBY Corner sessions, which are proving a draw for young and old alike at the festival, have included a recital conducted by celebrated Syrian actorand theatre director Munther Abu Ras. The narrator read from a collection of stories by different authors, a number of which had been awarded prizes that include the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature.
Selected to help enrich children’s communication skills and highlight the fun and interactive aspects of reading, the collection of titles that Abu Ras read from included ‘Ka'inat Saqf Al Ghorfa’ (‘Creatures on the Ceiling’) by NabihaMheidly, ‘Halwa, Halwa, Halwa’ (‘Sweets, Sweets, Sweets’) by Abeer Ballan, ‘FalfooshDaiaaThakeratah’ (‘Falfoosh Lost his Memory’) by Rai Abdulal, ‘Kaak AL Eid’ (‘The Eid Cake’) by Reem Al Gurg and ‘Koni Sadiqati’ (‘Be my Friend’) by Obada Taqla.
“My participation at the UAEBBY Corner was a hugely rewarding experience for me. I tried to convey the stories in a thrilling and fun way to engage the children’s attention. It is clear to see that the organisers of the UAEBBY Corner at the festival chose the stories carefully to appeal to the children visiting,” saidMunther Abu Ras.
Other narrators holding reading sessions taking place at the UAEBBY Corner included Emirati author Badriya Al Shamsi,who read her story ‘Al Asmak Al Taaera’ (‘Flying Fishes’) and Alia Al Shamsi, who recited her story ‘Alayah.’
The UAEBBY Corner is also staging an array of interactive workshops during SCRF 2016, including ‘Let’s Draw a Story,’ presented by Fadi Fadel and Maha Al Ali conducting a caricature workshop in which children’s faces and story characters are turned into drawings that exaggerate their features. The ‘They Were Readers’ workshop presented by Abeer Riad from International Namaa Association Research & Development provided children with tips on how to choose books and how to devote time to reading, giving them examples of acclaimed personalities who enjoy literature. Artist Suhailah Ibrahimalso presented an artefact workshop.