- Eleven-day family-friendly festival at Expo Centre Sharjah will feature 123 exhibitors and host 2,093 events
- Themed ‘Discover Beyond,’ SCRF 2017 extends across 2,304 square metres and has 179 guests on its programme
- SCRF 2017 introduces the ‘Little Innovator Café’ to identify the talents of children and young adults
- This year’s edition will host ‘BRAIN: THE INSIDE STORY’ exhibition in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York
The ninth edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) will feature a line-up of 2,093 events and activities, bringing together 123 exhibitors from across the region and the world.
Scheduled to take place from April 19-29 at Sharjah Expo Centre and themed ‘Discover Beyond,’ SCRF 2017 will extend across 2,304 square metres and see the participation of 179 guests, including some of the world’s most highly regarded children book authors, educational experts and media personalities.
The details of SCRF 2017 were revealed by HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) during a press conference held at Sharjah’s Flag Island. The event took place in the presence of HE Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC), as well as a number of local and Arab media representatives, intellectuals and literature enthusiasts.
The conference saw Al Ameri give a detailed presentation about the ninth edition of SCRF, which reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to nurture future generations and empower them with intellect and knowledge. He reiterated that SCRF is held under the guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to create an environment conducive to creativity and innovation.
Al Ameri revealed that this year’s SCRF will host 2,093 activities and events involving more than 179 guests from 18 Arab and foreign countries, six of which are participating for the first time; China, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Morocco.
He pointed out that the festival’s activities span several programmes, with the Children’s Programme featuring 1,403 activities and 55 guests from 22 countries and the Cultural Programme bringing more than 60 guests from 23 countries to take part in 40 activities. Other programmes on the agenda include the Cookery Programme, with its 83 activities bringing in 14 guests from 14 countries. Al Ameri confirmed that SCRF 2017’s Cookery Corner incorporates three aspects; Live Cooking Demonstrations, Cooking Competitions and the Little Chef.
BRAIN: THE INSIDE STORY’ Exhibition During the conference Al Ameri revealed details of ‘BRAIN: THE INSIDE STORY’ exhibition,’ a highlight of this year’s edition and the first-of-its-kind exhibition in the UAE. Held in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the special installation aims to unveil the secrets of the human brain by taking visitors on a thrilling journey.
“The Journey to the Human Brain exhibition features a spectrum of interactive shows relating to the organ in our body that is responsible for our intellect, thoughts and emotions. It will allow visitors of all ages to learn about brain function, to see its development from birth and to examine the impact of technology on consciousness,” he added.
Al Ameri noted that the festival will host a number of social media influencers and organise an array of activities and competitions. He encouraged all visitors, media personalities and other interested parties to use the hashtag #SCRF17 in all SCRF news, comments and photos.
The Little Innovator Café The SBA Chairman said that SCRF 2017 will host the Little Innovator Café, which offers a platform for visitors to meet talented children in the fields of literature, sports, science and art. Youngsters who have achieved remarkable successes will share their stories with the audience and speak about their innovations, achievements and ambitions.
300 artworks by children Al Ameri outlined that SCRF 2017 will host the sixth edition of the Sharjah Children’s Books Illustrations Exhibition, which will feature 303 artworks by 90 artists from around the world. It will also include the School Students Competition, which will see a daily award presented to the best written report about one of the festival’s seminars, as well as a competition dedicated for students from universities, colleges and Institutes who present the most innovative and expressive illustrations depicting children. He stipulated the rule that competition entries should not be copies of other original artworks. The SBA Chairman noted that the festival has chosen ‘Discover Beyond’ as its theme for this year, which summarises one of its key visions and objectives.
“We want to build, enhance and promote knowledge among the new generations. Knowledge cannot achieve its objectives and play its pivotal role in our lives without the adventure of enquiry, the pleasure of research and the joy of discovery. When our children are armed with knowledge and fortified with intellect, they are protected against all forms of ignorance.”
Speaking about SCRF 2017‘s Arab guests, Al Ameri said the festival this year would feature an elite group of Arab authors and artists who have been responsible for enriching the Arab cultural landscape, as well as artists who have enhanced the Arab media sector with their roles in outstanding radio and TV children’s programmes. SCRF 2017’s list of Arab guests includes Hanan Turk, Egyptian actress and Editor of Nona Magazine for children; Ghazi Hussein, Kuwaiti media personality; Mohammed Al Hana’I, Omani Author and Media Personality; Hasan Khalil Abdullah, Lebanese write and author of ‘The Fog Shepherd’ and Amal Farah, Egyptian writer.
Al Ameri also highlighted the international authors who were attending SCRF 2017, including Gayle Forman, American Journalist and New York Times Best-Selling Author of ‘Just One Day’ and ‘Just One Year;’ Kwame Alexander, American Poet and New York Times Best-Selling Author of ‘He Said, She Said’ and Korky Paul, British Children Books’ Illustrator, whose original artwork is on display at the Mazza Collection Galleria, Ohio, USA.
Concluding his speech, Al Ameri thanked the sponsors and partners of SCRF 2017: the Official Sponsor Etisalat Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat Group); Media Sponsor, Sharjah Media Corporation and Strategic Partner, Expo Centre Sharjah.
Delivering the speech on behalf of SCRF 2017’s Media Sponsor, Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of SMC, said: “Since its establishment, Sharjah Media Corporation has embraced a far-reaching vision that goes beyond its role of media broadcaster to that of an effective partner in the emirate’s cultural project, as advanced by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and supported by His Wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.”
Khalaf clarified that SMC allocates specialist teams to ensure the full coverage of SCRF’s events and activities across its broadcast network, including TV and radio channels and online platforms. He stated that SMC provides daily coverage through its programme ‘Sharjah’s Morning,’ which is broadcast from Expo Centre Sharjah throughout the SCRF programme every day except Friday. He also drew attention to its continuous follow-up through the programme ‘Our Children and Books,’ alongside its local newscasts.
“SMC believes in the festival’s message of promoting knowledge that looks beyond the present and towards the future,” Khalaf emphasised, revealing that SMC allocates studios that are set up inside in the event venue to cover the proceedings onsite. He explained that his organisation offers an interactive stage for children and dedicates other platforms and programmes to boost its message of promoting a love of reading among the younger generation.
Since its first edition in 2009, SCRF has become established as one of the most important cultural events for children and young adults in the region. Surpassing its role as a book fair, the festival has developed into an integrated cultural event that contributes to enriching visitors’ knowledge of science and literature, with the participation of a host of organisations and centres dedicated to children.