Ahmed. Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), said, "The Sharjah Children's Reading Festival is now well established as the ideal family extravaganza thanks to the support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and the generous patronage of His Wife, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.
The festival has developed a well-deserved reputation since its inception as being a family event for all generations where all members can share the love of reading and the pursuit of knowledge. SCRF has become rightfully renowned as a platform for participants to learn about other cultures, discover new ways of acquiring knowledge and enjoy a programme of rewarding education and entertainment activities."
Al Ameri extended his profound thanks and appreciation to Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, for gracing the opening of the eighth edition of SCRF.
"This year's festival encompasses a diverse array of workshops, lectures, and entertainment-packed shows, as well as a plethora of cultural activities that enhance cross-cultural communication between visitors of different nationalities. It has become a comprehensive event that celebrates children and places them at the focus of attention so as to ensure their bright present and a prosperous future filled with accomplishments," he added.
SCRF 2016 coincides with 2016 being celebrated by the UAE as the Year of Reading. The festival features 1,518 events spanning several programmes; the Children’s Programme with 1,245 activities, the Cultural Programme with 74, the Cookery Programme with 61 and the workshops with 27. There are 45 interactive events as part of the Beyond Planet Earth installation and 35 activities as part of the fifth edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children's Book Illustrations.
The eighth edition of SCRF sees the participation of an elite group of children's book authors, educational experts and media personalities. Among those taking part are acclaimed Moroccan author Al Arabi Ben Jeloun, famous Egyptian actress and TV presenter Najwa Ibrahim; Bahraini actor of Emirati origin Mohammed Yassin who is best known for his role ‘Baba Yassin,’ renowned Kuwaiti artist Huda Hussein and Qatari media professor and academic Dr. Rabeea bin Sabah Al Kawari.
Other prominent Arab guests at SCRF 2016 include Saudi Arabian actor and playwright Ibrahim Hamed Al Harthi, Jordanian writer Sana Al Hattab, Syrian writer Nabila Ahmed Ali and Iraqi writer and illustrator Ali Al Mendalawi.
The list of international guests at the festival includes US novelist Tom McNeill, US author Laura McNeil, children's book illustrator Michael Rex, British author Miriam Moss, writer John Walter, Australian author Christie Bern, Pakistani Cartoonist Nigar Nazar and author Russell Molina from the Philippines.
This year’s SCRF features a special stand for Majid TV channel, which will include reading sessions, comic stories, Majid animated film screenings, educational activities and talent discovery initiatives for children. Other main features on the programme are the play ‘Alice in the Land of Dwarves’ and the musical ‘My World the Story of the Magic Mirror.’ There will also be fun bubble-themed entertainment shows performed by the master of bubbles, ‘Samsam Bubbleman.’ As part of its Cultural Programme, SCRF 2016 is hosting a series of intellectual seminars, cultural discussions and educational lectures given by a selection of prominent authors and intellectuals from around the globe. A range of other events, including story reading sessions, panel discussions and workshops about children’s literature, theatre and cinema, as well as activities related to bringing up children and developing their talents and cognitive abilities, are also being held as part of the programme.
Gifted children will be revealing their skills and talents at SCRF 2016’s ‘Little Innovator Cafe,’ which aims to highlight youngsters with special abilities and promote outstanding children as role models for their peers. Hosting an elite group of young geniuses from the UAE, Arab and foreign countries, the Little Innovator Cafe will feature a number of prominent innovations developed by young minds, with the list of Little Innovators including Yara Al Sheikh, Abdullah Ali Al Ahbabi, Tiara, Taneshek Abraham and others.
Food lovers will be able to make the most of SCRF 2016's Cookery Programme, which will host a group of celebrity chefs and nutrition experts. Among those taking part are Kuwaiti chef Intisar Ibrahim Al Mutawa, Food Manufacturing Consultant and Head of the Zahr Centre for Professional Training; Jordanian chef Rasha Hamdan and German chef Christina, author of the cookbook ‘Bembli for Family Cooking,’ which was the winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2014. Other guests taking part in the gourmet-focused array of activities at SCRF 2016 include Saransh Gulja and Mango Mallhi from India and Canadian chef Jennifer Lo, author of two bestselling children's books ‘Children's Kitchen’ and ‘Daily Kitchen of Children.' Another significant highlight of SCRF 2016 is the 'Social Media Cafe.' Here, interviews will be held with famous Arab and foreign celebrities via social media to discuss issues related to books and children and the impact of digital development and social media on youngsters. The Social Media Cafe will host 11 luminary figures during the course of the festival.
The eighth edition of SCRF is sponsored by leading telecommunications provider Etisalat, Sharjah Media Corporation, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (represented by Expo Centre) and Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
The launching of the eighth edition of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival was attended by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, Sheikh Faisal Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Airport Authority, Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed Mir Abdullah Al Raisi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAAIC), Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhraibani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Saeed Muisabah Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Sharjah Education Council, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Hana Saif Al Suwaidi Chairperson of Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA).