H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, today inaugurated the eighth edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF) at Sharjah Expo Centre under the theme 'Shine Out’.
He was greeted with loud cheers from a group of children on his arrival, with the youngsters chanting a song to welcome him and to express their happiness at the launch of the leading literary festival's eighth edition.
Taking place over 11 days until April 30, SCRF 2016 is hosting 1,518 cultural, educational, arts and entertainment events and sees the participation of 130 publishers from 15 countries.
Coinciding with the UAE's 'Year of Reading,' the 11-day SCRF 2016 will give children the opportunity to acquire the latest books and gain new skills through its array of training workshops and fun-filled entertainment and educational events.
Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi toured the festival's halls with its numerous literary sections and stands, some of which have been allocated for publishers and others designated for the festival's many cultural seminars, training workshops, theatrical performances and musical shows.
On the first part of his tour at SCRF 2016, Sharjah's Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler visited the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information's, stand, where he was briefed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the department, about its publications targeting children, especially those related to storytelling, poetry and theatre.
He also visited the stands of a number of local, Arab and international publishing houses, as well as those representing government cultural and educational organisations. Among the exhibitors he visited were the UAE Board on Books for Young People, the Etisalat Award for Children's Literature, Al Qasimi Publications and Kalimat Group, where he acquainted himself with their respective publications.
During his tour, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed viewed a number of the festival's educational and training workshops for children, which cover a diverse range of topics, including the arts, science, health and education.
On the sidelines of SCRF 2016, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi inaugurated the fifth edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children's Book Illustrations, the foremost exhibition dedicated to book art in the Arab region.
The dedicated section has on display 1,380 works of art by professional illustrators representing 46 countries, with the artwork a testament to the incredible standard of book illustration in the region and highlighting its important role in engaging children's attention and increasing the attractiveness of reading in young minds.
On the final part of his tour, Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi visited ‘Beyond Planet Earth,’ a spectacular exhibition being hosted for the first time at SCRF. The exhibition comprises a collection of mini-presentations that take visitors on a virtual reality journey to explore the future and the possibilities of space flight. Beyond Planet Earth's interactive features include the adventurous ‘Solar System Theatre,’ ‘Returning to the Moon,’ ‘Exploring Asteroids’ and ‘Voyaging to Mars,’ with each feature designed to take the intrepid traveller on a tour of our solar system and beyond.
During the inauguration of SCRF 2016, The Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah honoured the winners of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children's Books Illustrations. Scooping the first prize of $8,000 was Lebanese illustrator Hassan Zahreddine. The second place award of $ 6,000 went to Alexandra Sternin from the US and the third prize of $4,000 was given to German illustrator Sonja Danowski. Illustrators Valentina Piacenza from Italy, Jesus Cisneros from Spain and Fereshteh Najafi from Iran won the honourable mention prizes of $1,000 each.
Sheikh Sultan also paid tribute to the winners of the SCRF 2016 awards at the opening of the festival. The Arabic Children’s Book Award went to Saudi author Arwa Khamis for her work 'Ana Roomi,' while the Arabic Young Adult Book Award was given to Tunisian writer Nasr Sami for his book 'Tales of Jaber the Shepherd.' The International Children’s Book Award went to Pakistani author and Doctor Tahira Arshad for her publication 'The Black Stone.' Meanwhile, the incentive award for the Best Book for Visually Impaired Children was given to Tunisian author Laila Al Daloul for her title 'Life is all for us.' Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi also honoured the winners of the Sharjah Award for Library Literature in its three categories, with the top three writers as voted by the judges all hailing from Egypt. First place went to Tharwat Elelamy Al Morsi, second place to Ali Fathi Abdul Rahim El Sherif and third place to Ahmed Hafez Ahmed.