Commitment to fun learning
The Sharjah Book Authority is organizing this festival, which has just closed its fourteenth session, and its general coordinator is Khawla Al-Mujaini. A meeting by and for children and young people, because they are the future and the society of tomorrow will also depend on their training. According to official data, the festival received 122 thousand visitors.
In different corners of the Sharjah Exhibition Centre, the venue for this highly regarded meeting in the United Arab Emirates, the motto of this edition could have been read: “Train your mind”. And this was the biggest goal, which is to provide these generations with the necessary tools to express and develop their thoughts and emotions, but without forgetting to have fun. And what better age to conduct training than early, when minds are open and absorb everything that is said to them like sponge water.
Every morning, since May 3, students from different schools and across the emirate have arrived in their yellow buses to enjoy some of the dozens of activities scheduled daily for children between the ages of 4 and 15. Schoolchildren in uniform mix with families, which is another staple of Sharjah’s philosophy, hence many initiatives have been organized to get them involved together.
Spaces for the arts and sciences
The color palette to choose from was so great that choosing where to go and what to entertain yourself with became difficult. Original and fun spaces with festival mascots, Wanda, ray, pen and point Announce the theme of the activity or workshop: Science, Robotics, Music, Skills, Sports, Social Media, Handmade, Cultural Forum, Intellectual Forum, Grand Prize, Cube Adventure , kitchen corner, social networking café, photo station … spaces joined by institutions, associations and official bodies.
Science and letters joined hands and walked together along the path of learning and playing. Because there were moments for singing, violin, harmonica, piano, maracas or saxophone and also for taekwondo, kung fu, boxing, self-defense, fitness, zumba and yoga.
Because learning to cook and learn about main dishes from countries like Italy, Lebanon, Japan, South Africa or France from top chefs was as interesting as sharpening your memory.
Because robotics workshops, with drones or electric cars, were as exciting as the world of social networks and their followers and the possibility of taking good photos and videos or delving into their advantages and disadvantages.
Because the blending of the tradition of ancient storytellers and their fantastic stories with modernity, the digital world and design, for example, was intriguing.
As drawing with pencils, watercolors and by hand, making candles or discovering the Japanese technique of paper was a unique experience as entering the world of electronics or operating water systems.
Because teaching to protect our environment for a better future was as good as remembering the old troubadours and reciting aloud.
Because knowing what renewable energies offer us has had as much impact as sitting down to read a book or enjoying being read to you.
Because listening to a concert by your favorite heroes, Spider-Man, Batman … Going to the theater or watching the famous children of Uganda dance, Masaka Kids Africana, was as exciting as doing science experiments.
Because shopping from a young age can be as original as making perfume … And because the love of reading, the essence of this festival, is impossible not to appear among the thousands of works presented in the exhibitors.
Interviews with prominent writers
Workshops to learn, surf, enjoy, explore…and meet up with the authors of the most diverse adventures you dream of. Because being able to meet their favorite writers from around the world and ask about them was unique. They shared their experiences, fears, fantasies, beginnings, and personalities. Ross Wilford, Jerenissa A. , Sharon Cameron, Sherry G. Meiners, Hamza Arshad, Samah Abu Bakr Ezzat, Fatima Al Lawati … moved to Sharjah …
Programming also provided parents with more than interesting discussions about current issues affecting their children, which have an impact on their development and education in society. Thus, experts on various topics analyzed and discussed the future of books and audiobooks, social networks, artificial intelligence, preparing children for the economy, depression and other mental illnesses in childhood and youth, autism, ways of behaving in schools, the importance of new generations to be trilingual, sustainability and the need To a greener world, tools for children to grow happily, study plans, manga and cartoons in literature, Arabic popular culture, fantasy or humor in children’s books…
And let’s not forget how fun it was to walk the halls where something amazing could happen. English artist Keira Rathbone wowed audiences as she created her amazing drawings on a typewriter. The Mobile Gallery and its art itineraries showed off the worlds of Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh with their Field of Poppy and Sunflowers paintings; The French company Les Vaguabondes brought Spirit of the Forests and acrobatics to express the importance of preserving nature; British circus performers Jason Maverick and Laura Davis have been transformed into real blue humanoids whose robotic movements children have mimicked. A family of pots walked happily through the festival … And of course there was no shortage of Wanda mascots, ray, pen and blob who never ceased to amaze and take pictures with children and adults.
The theater also had its own space. Alone at Home, which was produced between SBA and Nujum from the United Arab Emirates and Panther Media Production, in which prominent actors participated, was well received by the audience.
Sharjah concludes the Children’s Reading Festival, a meeting in which learning was a lot of fun.
“Reader. Beer practitioner. Web expert. Subtly charming travel geek. Friendly music specialist.”