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Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival returns on May 3


The 14th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival will bring together 512 featured guests from 66 countries taking part in 1,658 workshops and sessions and showcasing their latest work in the child literary scene.


The festival to be held from May 3-14 at the Expo Centre Sharjah, is themed “Train your brain,” and is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). Besides a number of events, it will host the including the inaugural Sharjah Animation Conference and the second edition of the Booksellers Conference.


SBA will hold the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Animation Conference from May 3-5 on the sidelines of SCRF in partnership with Italy’s Bergamo Animation Days (BAD) festival. It will provide a platform for people to come together, exchange ideas, and create meaningful connections through 11 masterclasses, 6 workshops and 3 panel discussions, and a vibrant professional agenda.


The second edition of the Booksellers Conference will bring together 383 book distributors, including 223 from 52 countries around the world and 160 from 17 Arab countries, and will showcase their latest offerings in the childrens’ literary scene as well as deliberate on the realities of the book distribution ecosystem and explore opportunities in new markets. It will also feature seminars and workshops, catering to the booming industry.


 SCRF 2023 is hosting 141 publishers, including 93 Arab and 48 foreign publishers. The UAE tops the list with 77 publishers, followed by Lebanon with 12 publishers alongside many others. Top participating countries include the UK, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the US, Australia, India, Pakistan, Algeria, and Iraq.


Range of children’s activities

The 12-day festival will be home to 1,658 activities, including 946 events led by 25 guests from 10 countries, including a diverse range of workshops for children covering arts, sports, science, and technology. The festival will also host 136 theatre performances, roaming shows, acrobat and music concerts led by 16 guests from 16 countries. The most notable of them include a comedy play Akbar the Great Nahi Rahe, and the children’s show Masaka Kids Africana .


Alone at home – The play

One of SCRF’s highlights in the upcoming edition is a play titled Alone at Home, produced by SBA in collaboration with Nujum from the UAE and Kuwaiti Panther Media Production. The SBA production features Emirati actors

The 14th SCRF will be hosting 68 guests, including artists, writers, and creators from 21 countries, who will lead a diverse range of panel discussions that shed light on some of the most critical issues facing the world today, as well as sessions focused on developing communication skills for children and nurturing their creative and intellectual skills and capabilities.


Notable participants

Some of the notable Arab names participating in the festival include Amal Farah from Egypt, Dr. Fadia Daas from Jordan, Mohannad Thabet Al Akoush from Syria, Samah Abu Bakr Ezzat from Egypt, and Mohammed Shaker Mahmoud Jiragh from Kuwait. International guests include Ross Welford, international bestselling author of children’s fiction; Jasmine Farga, Jasmine Warga, International bestselling and award-winning author of children’s and young adults’ fiction; Ellie Robinson, author and multi-medal-winning swimmer; Timothy Knapman, International bestselling author of children’s fiction; and Annie Oswald, Vice President of Books and Audio at FranklinCovey Co.

The festival’s cultural activities include a series of panel discussions, as well as sessions focused on developing communication skills in children and nurturing their creative and intellectual abilities.


Comics Corner

Children and youth will have the opportunity to explore the world of comics through more than 323 activities, including workshops, panel discussions, and a series of roaming shows led by 15 creatives from 4 countries. The most prominent activities at the corner include Acro Adventures and Ninja Tests, in addition to workshops and interactive activities showcasing 35 local talents and their works.


Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Award

During the festival, SCRF will also announce the 11th Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Award winners, which received an impressive 1,300 submissions from 280 participants representing 46 countries. 235 works by 85 artists have qualified and will compete for the top spots.