Young visitors and parents pay rich tributes to annual event for continuing to enhance its unique cultural legacy over the years
Sharjah, May 21, 2022: Parents and young visitors at the ongoing 13th Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF) have paid rich tributes to the region's largest event of its kind for continuing its legacy of being “more just than a literary festival”.
“I have been coming here with my family every year since 2017 and I find that it gets more fascinating with each passing year,” said Egyptian Mostafa Saad, 37, a software engineer, who took time out of his busy schedule to visit SCRF 2022 at Expo Centre Sharjah with his wife and three children.
“SCRF is a one-of-its-kind event that brings together cultures, languages, and ideas from different corners of the world under one roof through not just books but also an array of shows, workshops, talks and other activities for children. There's so much to learn and see here and that's exactly why SCRF is a must-visit for us,” he said.
Saad's 10-year-old son, Adam, who is currently being schooled online, said SCRF is a place that allows him to explore the world. “It is an enriching experience because there's so much happening here all the time. And there's always that chance of getting your hands on the book you have been wanting to read,” said the Wimpy Kid fan.
Fellow Wimpy Kid buff, Hamza Khalid, echoed the same thoughts. “I love coming to SCRF because of the huge number of books here!” said the 12-year-old student from Al Sadaq school who, besides the purchase of a Wimpy Kid title, also bought a few Manga books in Arabic. “You don't get such books so easily everywhere and that's what makes SCRF so special!”
Nine-year-old Hoor Hassan Ismail Bukusha and Safiya Adnan,10, from Sharjah's Rab'a Al-Adawiya Primary School may not be the most ardent of readers by their own admission – yet SCRF is a must-attend for them each year. “There are so many things to see and do here. I especially enjoy meeting life-like comic characters and saying hello to them,” said Hoor.
For Safiya, this year's SCRF was a journey of self-discovery. “We went across the entire venue and saw a wide range of books and artworks. We met many people and roaming characters and made lots of friends.”
The 12-day festival, which continues its run at Expo Centre Sharjah until May 22, has also provided solace to Achint Babbar, 32, who suffers from severe speech impairment and other infirmities. His mother, Kanchan, described how he appeared calm and composed at the festival venue. “He cannot speak at all and isn't able to perform most tasks that people his age can. And so, we take him to as many places as possible, to ensure that he remains in high spirits.”
“We are new to the UAE and yet to explore the country, but SCRF has been a perfect place for him to unwind and calm his frayed nerves,” said Kanchan, adding that Achint had won the gold medal in swimming at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2007 in Shanghai as a 17-year-old.