Book-inspired maze pavilion by Sharjah Baby Friendly Office at SIBF 2019 offers young visitors a space for creative exploration  

Furthering its efforts to raise children’s and youth’s awareness about their rights, the Sharjah Baby Friendly Office (SBFO), has presented a unique two-storey riddle-filled pavilion at the 38th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), taking place until November 9 at the Sharjah Expo Centre.

The pavilion’s maze design has a literary connection, inspired by a book for young adults titled A Mystery in the City, commissioned by SBFO to author Sahar Naja Mahfouz, and illustrator Fadi Fadel. The book is published by Kalimat Publishing, an imprint of Kalimat Group.

Published in Arabic, English and Braille languages, the recent title for the 12+ age group is the third and final book in a storybook series launched by SBFO last April, at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, which included Toot Toot The Train and Our Big Dream, for younger children, which were brought out in English and Arabic, and recently launched in Braille as well.

Throughout the fair, SBFO’s pavilion attracted a heavy footfall of young readers, eager to solve the riddles in the two-storey maze, following in the footsteps of the story’s multinational characters – Ibrahim and Rashid and his sister Mariam from the UAE, brothers Sami and Salma from Syria, Hamed from Iraq, Ali from Tunisia, and Andrea from India.

The book revolves around a group of children who embark on a journey at the Mleiha Archaeological Centre to solve six riddles within a 24-hour span in order to win a grand prize. With the help of a map, technology, and the support of a group of girls who helped them remotely via radio transmission, the youth continue solving the riddles until they reach the final mystery. With a little bit of help and collaborative thinking, they discover the answer to the final mystery is 800700 – the child safety hotline in Sharjah.

The team wins an exciting training course at the Sharjah Police Academy to learn the fundamentals of police work, logical and analytical thinking in order to solve mysteries in the shortest time possible.

Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SBFO: “Through our participation at SIBF, we seek to highlight Sharjah’s efforts as a city that promotes and protects the rights of children, which resulted in the emirate being honoured with the ‘Child Friendly City’ title by UNICEF last year.”

“With the new youth story, SBFO continues on its path to promote this age group’s awareness of their rights and the issues that affect them. The story depicts young people who are either Sharjah’s young citizens or residents who were raised in the city – who love it and are aware of the places of interest, its historic locations, natural reserves and facilities, among others. It delivers valuable messages such as the importance of teamwork, cooperation, solidarity and community participation,” added Al Ghazal.

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