The 10th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), begins tomorrow (Wednesday) with a galaxy of international guests and a host of activities to entertain and educate youngsters in the largest and most important event of its kind in the Middle East.
Running from April 18-28 at Expo Centre Sharjah, SRCF 2018 will be held under the theme ‘Your Future… Just a Book Away’, with a line-up of 2,600 cultural and literary events and activities to enrich and entertain all ages, books and literary materials showcased by 134 publishers from 18 Arab and foreign countries, and 286 authors, poets and literary guests hailing from 121 countries.
Coming to Sharjah from five continents, among the many famous international authors are:Britain’s Ed Vere, whose 'Max the Brave' is a New York Times bestseller and was named one of The Sunday Times' '100 Modern Children's Classics'; Varun Pruthi, an Indian humanitarian, actor, director and social media star who has 1.7 million YouTube subscribers; Award-winning Miranda Paul from the USA will be talking about why we all love to laugh and how a humorous story can get even the most reluctant reader interested in books.
The UK’s Sibéal Pounder, author of the Bad Mermaids series and Witch Wars, which has been translated into 10 languages, will be showing students how to create fantasy worlds and comedy characters in the students’ session ‘Fairy Tales and Witches’; Mark Gonzalez from the United States features on a panel discussion looking at the merits and challenges of children’s use of social media and the internet; Natasha Sharma from India, who has published seventeen books for children, will participate in a discussion addressing authors’ share of responsibility to present history in an exciting way; from Ireland, Darya Yegorina, CEO of CleverBooks, will be sharing her knowledge on emerging technologies for education and speaking on her mission to deliver the most innovative Augmented Reality to schools around the world.
Christine S. Bellen from the Philippines has authored more than 30 books and musical plays for children and will be taking part in a panel discussion ‘From Page to Screen’; and multi-award winning poet, essayist, children’s story writer, translator and editor Michael M. Coroza, also from the Philippines, will be holding a special workshop on the topic ‘Weaving my Poem’.
The festival also hosts a line-up of the Arab world’s most popular authors and artists who have contributed to Arab literature with works that will enrich the cultural landscape for future generations.
Joining them will be a stellar line-up of famous thespians, including one of Egypt’s favourite actresses, Sabrin. Other guests include Algerian artist Tareq Al Arabi Tarkan, who has written more than 1,000 songs and created scripts for several TV shows and famous cartoon films, and Syrian actress Amal Hawijeh, the voice of much-loved animated film characters including ‘Mowgli’, ‘Captain Majid’ and the “Small Fisherman’.
SCRF 2018 will also welcome Lebanese author Sahar Mahfouz, a prolific writer who has penned a number of stories for young adults and children and been a jury member for many renowned writing awards, and in 2013 founded the Hunna Group for Female Emirati Writers and Creators.
Palestinian author and illustrator Fadwa Al Qasem Fadwa, who translated ‘The Scent of Cardamom’ (by Dar Sharqiyat) and ‘The Scents of Marie-Claire’ (by Habib Selmi) will be making a guest appearance among many others.
The festival will also witness a series of Arab and foreign theatrical performances that combine education, fun and entertainment to highlight the values of honesty to young visitors, including the international favourite, ‘Tuta and Monkey Cheetah’ presented by Kuwait’s Al Rowan Centre for Art and Theatrical Production, and ‘Island of Kids’ Area’, from Kuwait’s Artist for Art and Theatrical Production.
Both plays reinforce messages of the importance of morality, culture, knowledge and community spirit.
Young visitors will also be treated to a truly impressive virtual reality illusion show ‘Hara Hiroki’ from Japan, which is the latest in innovative video mapping, and a range of interactive visual shows that blur the lines between reality and graphics, immersing the young spectators in a magical world of hologram illusions.
3D Book Exhibition
Ahistoric 3D Book Exhibition will be made available to visitors and literature enthusiasts of all age groups by expert Italian curators Massimo Missiroli and Mathieu Faglia, from the 3D Book Centre in Forli, Italy. The exhibition, aims to introduce the UAE’s readers to the ancient art of pop-up or three dimensional books, whose earliest examples are said to be found in 13th Century Catalonia, posing them against the new and emerging technologies in this genre of image-heavy, performance based literature.
Visitors will have access 250 of these books that have been handpicked by the exhibition curators to represent eight different periods of time, ranging from the 1880s to the year 2000.
The festival’s famous Cookery Corner will once again be hosting several top international celebrity chefs to share some of their favourite dishes and recipes. The renowned chefs from Canada, the US and India along with accomplished chefs from the UAE will showcase their culinary skills as they prepare a wide range of new dishes that reflect the cultures of their countries.
Among them is Canadian Bal Arneson, Canadian Arab chef Suzanne Husseini, British culinary expert Nancy McDougall, Lara Starr, Jenny Tschiesche, US Chef Mark Ainsworth, and Emirati Majida Jassim.
The young visitors to SCRF’s Cookery Corner will be fascinated by young Indian chef Jehan Razdan, a 4-year-old who appears on Indian Television.
The Cookery Corner will present a variety of creative cooking workshops, among the workshops are ‘Lighting Cotton Candy’, ‘Art of Making Coffee’, and ‘Chocolate Modelling’, which will enable the festival’s audience to learn about the art of modern cookery and how to prepare delectable, light and healthy dishes, as well as ways to prepare desserts and appetizers.