Sharjah: Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group and President of International Publishers Association, has launched her latest work in children’s literature, ‘World Book Capital’, at Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF).
Published simultaneously in Arabic and English by Kalimat Publishing, part of Kalimat Group that specialises in publishing Arabic books for children and youth, the book was launched on Friday at an interactive session for young visitors at SCRF, which runs until May 29 at Expo Centre Sharjah.
As a narrative, with illustrations by Denise Damanti, the book introduces young generations to the concept of World Book Capital, a global initiative by UNESCO. World Book Capital is a title conferred on a different city each year whereby the selected city is expected to carry out activities that inculcate the habit of reading among its population. Sharjah was named the World Book Capital for the year 2019 in recognition of the city’s efforts in promoting books and literacy. The book World Book Capital aims to educate young readers on all cities that have won the title since the inception of the initiative in 2001.
The book launch event featured a reading by Bodour Al Qasimi, offering SCRF’s young visitors an opportunity to interact with the author.
Also at SCRF, now in its 12th edition, young children are learning gaming technology during the ‘Machinery Design’ workshop, focused on teaching kids the applications of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in gaming technology.
The workshop trainer said getting exposed to technology at a younger age, while simultaneously learning how to apply their knowledge of STEM practically, makes learning “fun” for children. Such workshops in “non-traditional fields” also helps children make more informed university and career decisions later on in life, the trainer added.
At the Machine Design workshop, children can learn how to build the Wire Game from scratch, and understand the science behind this popular game.
Themed ‘For Your Imagination,’ SCRF runs daily from 4pm to 10pm (10am to 8pm on Saturdays) until May 29 at Expo Centre Sharjah. Visitors need to register online or at the venue to enter as per the event’s strict COVID-19 health and safety measures.
Along with 16 authors from the Arab region, 16 international authors are also taking part in the 11-day event that has 537 activities.
Meanwhile, budding young artists at SCRF created art works on white rocks during a one-hour workshop. Children aged nine to 13 participated in the ‘Drawing on the Stone’ using a fluorescent palette of acrylic paints, fine-tipped paint brush, floral-patterned stencils, and a sponge brush.
Alykotb, 13, said: “This activity is a combination of traditional and modern painting styles and I find it both creative and interesting. I have never painted on a stone before; this method is quite challenging as the stone is very porous.”
A long-time participant at SCRF said he was pleased to see the annual event return after a year’s gap. Jon Malinowski, President of The Combined Book Exhibit, who has brought the latest best-sellers from Canada, UK and the US, said: “This is one of the most well-organised book fairs. [SCRF] has done a great job in executing COVID-19 health and safety protocols. It’s wonderful to see visitors of all age groups trickling in to enjoy and learn from the festival’s myriad cultural and artistic offerings.”
More than 170 publishers from 15 countries are showcasing their books and literary material at SCRF.
Malinowski, who has been coming to SCRF for a decade, added: “Most international publishing events of this scale have a stronger B2B focus. And while [SCRF] has offered international publishers a platform to enable their post-COVID-19 recovery with new book deals, copyright exchanges, and expand their distribution network in this region, it has also served as a much-needed bridge between them and their customers.”