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Under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and with the support and directives of H. H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has launched the 5th Sharjah Children's Reading Festival-scheduled to take place from 23 April-4 May.
The children's event, one of the region's premier cultural extravaganzas dedicated to children, is expected to see wide participation from various organisations and bodies.
The announcement about the launch of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival and the Sharjah Exhibition for Children Books' Illustrations came during a press conference organised by SIBF - the organizer body of the festival - at the headquarters of the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah.
The press conference was held in the presence of a number of official figures, namely Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SIBF Director , and Hind Lenaid, General Coordinator of Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, as well as representatives of sponsoring bodies, and media representatives.
During the conference, SIBF revealed the line-up of diverse activities and events that will run along with the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, participating bodies and sponsors. A host of events for children were also held on the occasion.
Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, said, "The festival comes in translation of the directives of H. H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah who has always spared no effort to boost Sharjah's vision for children's culture in all its forms, bearing in mind His Highness's wisdom is manifested in humanity's love of culture, knowledge and creativity ".
Al Owais added, "The new edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, which is held with the support and directives of H. H. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, marks a new phase of development of performance as well as of creating and enhancing an innovative interactive environment able to keep communication with others and to pass on the message to all generations." Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SIBF Director, said, "Unlike millions of children around the world, children in the UAE enjoy the highest level of support at all legislative, health, educational, family, psychological and protective levels, and are provided with everything that would ensure they will live a stable and secure life as well as a bright future."
Al Ameri added, "There is no doubt that all the various organisations in Sharjah and the UAE, including the Sharjah Book Fair, are striving to achieve the directives of our wise leadership and the visions of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who spares no effort to guide, support and follow up on all issues related to children, as they constitute the nation's future and the pillar of its development and building as well as the real capital in the country's renaissance and its drive towards superiority in all fields."
Hind Lenaid, General Coordinator of Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, said, "Everyone worked tirelessly over the past months and gave their utmost so that the Festival's various events rise to the level of responsibility and the rust bestowed upon us by our leaders, and meet the aspirations of children of different ages, nationalities, and educational stages." "
The efforts have resulted in the preparation of more than 450 events designed to support children's scientific and cognitive development, to be moderated by specialists and experts who are highly qualified and well trained in presenting workshops for children," she said and added, "We also focused this year on activities designed to support the needs of disabled children." The 12-day festival will bring together more than 80 local and international publishing houses, which will display their latest publications in the field of children's literature.
The festival programme will feature a wide range of activities, including, the Fun Village, Knowledge Ship, cartoon characters, interactive singing workshops, health workshops, art workshop, book making workshops, such as books for visually impaired children, drawing on water, clay colouring, and light and theatrical shows.
It will also include the fun of teaching numbers and mathematics, various competitions, including online games, and a series of talks about Neuro-linguistic translation, among other various shows.
The programme also features an event titled �Tafanin' that teaches about the arts of literary expression, storytelling and story and literary writing, as well as storytelling under the supervision of specialists.
Among other activities there will also be �Arts and symbols' which identify the types of Arts, lectures on Arabic language, teaching sign language skills, and various puppet shows, and workshops on Arabic calligraphy and ornamentation through 'Medad Wa Noqoush", a knowledge workshop, and lectures on traffic safety, among other events.
On the sidelines of the reading festival, the Sharjah International Book Fair will launch the second edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children Books' Illustrations with huge local and regional participation.
The exhibition is expected to see a strong competition between 75 illustrators from 28 countries who were selected from among 210 illustrators who submitted 260 professional illustrations designed for children's books.
Cash prizes will be awarded to three winners as determined by the international jury, with the first place being awarded a cash prize of $8000, the second place a prize of $6000, and the third place a prize of $4000 in addition to 3 honorable mentions of $1000 each granted for special artwork.
The departments and bodies, which participated in organising the festival's various events, include the Department of Culture and Information, the Supreme Council of Family Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority, Sharjah Traffic Department, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Dubai Health Authority, Sharjah Maritime Museum, Latifa Hospital, and the Arabic Language Protection Society in Sharjah.
SIBF has lauded the role of sponsorship of the festival, namely Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Media Centre, Sharjah Commerce '&' Tourism Development Authority, Emirates Transport and Sharjah Transport.