Sharjah Children’s Reading Fest Booming

Award-winning children's book author Rania Zaghir reads at the fest.

Sharjah has set themselves the mission of becoming “the premier reading festival for children in the region.”

It’s hard to think of any children’s reading festival that competes: Cairo closed its children’s book festival — ostensibly “merging” it with the book fair (sigh) — and, thus far, Doha’s children’s book fair has been on a much smaller scale.

Meanwhile, the 2012 Sharjah International Children’s Reading Festival (#SCRF12)  launched April 23 with what appear to be strong crowds and great fun, and the fest continues through May 2. It brings together authors, illustrators, publishers, children, and lots of creative materials.

According to a news release, there are some 100 cultural activities for kids, as well as a number of forums for their grown-ups. 

The fair’s general coordinator Hind Lenaid: “We have prepared a broad spectrum of activities that cater to children of all ages – including those with special needs, the hearing impaired, the speech impaired and the visually impaired. … The program also includes theatrical plays, reading sessions, popular games, circus performances, clown shows and many other activities to enhance the love for knowledge and nurture the habit of reading in children’s minds.”

Meanwhile, illustrators have been working on communal canvases and sharing their artwork via Twitter.

Also, although Sharjah already offers one of the world’s largest book awards for children (the Etisalat prize, given to a children’s book each November), five prizes are also being awarded during this April-May festival.

It’s becoming fairly safe to say that, if you’re a children’s book author, illustrator, or publisher, Sharjah is fast becoming the don’t-miss destination of the region.


  1. Sharjahs children festival was great success, but the picture used with the author Rania Zaghir was actually an a reading sponsored by Kan Yama Kan bookshop done in Al Ebdaa School in Dubai. In cooperatin with the author and the bookshop, and celebrating the world book day three readings were organized; one in a public school another in a private one and the last one in the bookshop. Unfortunatly it has nothing to do with the fest except working for the same aim, promoting reading among the young generation and celebrating reading in Arabic.

    1. Oops, thanks for clarifying! I’ll have to get another photo, although if you don’t mind I’ll keep Rania’s as well, since it’s so lovely. I suppose I stole it off her Facebook account knowing she was in Sharjah, but not looking too closely at where it was taken!

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