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Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) opened its doors to the nation and the world on Wednesday in Expo Centre Sharjah. With its theme ‘Train your Brain’, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) organizes a 12-day cultural festival for children, young people, and their families to explore and take part in a variety of activities, workshops, and events to broaden their minds and hone their talents.
This year, the cultural event designed for children in the region will shape young minds with 1,732 activities designed to foster a love of reading, offer a platform to those involved in children’s literature to develop creative content and elevate the children’s book industry both in the Arab world and globally.
This year’s cultural extravaganza brings together 457 guests, including artists, writers, illustrators, experts, and influencers who will lead engaging activities and workshops as well as unveil their latest works.
Visitors can explore the latest releases from the children’s book fair, which brings together 141 publishers in the children’s literature sector, offering content ranging from novels to educational books and creative genres.
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.
SCRF 2023 will stage 21 panel discussions hosting 68 guests from 21 Arab and foreign countries. The diverse cultural agenda includes ‘The Importance of Developing Emotional Intelligence Skills at Young Age’, which will host speakers Dr. Maya Alhuwi from the UAE, Lorca Sbeity from Lebanon, and Canadian Dr Louise Lambert.
Another panel discussion on the agenda is ‘The Link Between Artificial Intelligence (AI), Education Curricula, and Children’s Books’, which brings together Dr. Karima Matar Almazroui from the UAE, Egyptian author Amal Farah; and from the UK, Ross Welford. Meanwhile, authors, including Dr. Haitham Al Khawaja from Syria, Roysten Abel from India, and Sharifa Mousa from the UAE, will be speakers in the panel discussion titled ‘Implementing Theatre Studies in Educational Curricula’.
The 12-day festival will be home to 946 events led by 25 guests from 10 countries, including various 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 activities include the children’s play “Alone at Home,” produced by SBA. The fun-filled play will run at 7:30 pm on May 12 and 13 and at 6 pm on the 14th, while the comedy play Akbar the Great Nahi Rahe will be held at 4 pm on May 7, and the children’s show Masaka Kids Africana which again highlights the attention to diversity by the festival.
The Social Media Station will be home to 72 activities led by influencers and content creators, including Wessam Qutob, Chef Faisal Al Khalidi, Azza Al Mughairy and Jamal Al Mulla, who will shine light on the latest techniques for creating content on digital platforms and developing suitable content for target audiences.