Children’s interest in book story balloons at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. Kamal Kassim / Gulf today
Gulf today, Staff reporter
On the heels of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, leading the allocation of MAD 2.5 million for the purchase of books from the 139 publishers participating in the Reading Festival for Children of Sharjah (SCRF) this year, an interview with some of them revealed the incredible business opportunity the festival platform has created for them, directly connecting publishers to thousands of readers of all ages.
Hani Kreidieh and his wife, who run Dar Kriediah with a presence in both Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, have an attractive collection at SCRF. “We publish original books in Arabic as well as translations from Turkish, Finnish, Estonian, English and French. We also distribute international books.
We welcome a steady stream of buyers. In the morning, the school children are visiting and, in the evening, the parents bring their children. DC Books, one of the busiest book stalls at each edition of the SCRF and the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), is expecting a big crowd this past weekend. A
According to Sanjay Jesudas, purchasing manager of DC Books, more people will frequent the booth over the weekend when crowds are expected to increase. Unlike its competitors, DC Books had the advantage of selling books in Malayalam, Indian, English as well as international publications. With Keralites forming the largest portion of the UAE’s population – many of whom are book lovers – the store has consistently had skyrocketing sales in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy and fiction. children’s books.
Sunono Publishing Ltd UK is a relative newcomer to the publishing scene, but has been attending Sharjah book fairs since its launch. Feda Shtia, Founder and CEO, explained: “We are a publishing house based in Scotland, UK, and have chosen to call it Sunono after a swallow, a migrating bird, as it represents our presence as an Arabic publisher in the UK. At SCRF 2022, our interactive books for 0-5 year olds are the bestsellers.
We only started in November 2020, so the fact that we are surviving is a good sign, and a platform like SCRF goes a long way towards ensuring that.” The Palestinian, who was born in the United Arab Emirates and lived here until 2018, said SIBF has always been a part of her life. “So it means a lot to me to exhibit here at SCRF now,” she signed on to care for a young family with a toddler.
Dar Asala Lebanon has always had a stand at SIBF and SCRF, trying to find new markets and new customers. “We publish children’s books, mainly picture books. They are original Arabic publications, and we give all our buyers the special SCRF 25% discount, which has boosted our sales,” noted Mazen Hamdan.
Ideas are everywhere and you just have to be open to seeing them, American author-illustrator Vashti Harrison remarked earlier as she showed her young audience at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) 2022 how she had drawn Mike Wazowski of Monsters Inc. on the skin of half a green apple.
The 13th edition of SCRF, taking place at Expo Center Sharjah until May 22, is themed “Creating Creativity”. “I do this all the time because that’s creativity,” she told a crowd of college kids who watched and listened in fascination as she showed them how to draw captivating pictures and read to them. biographies of famous people written specifically for young readers.
Harrison, whose Hello, Star and Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History are among his many New York Times bestsellers, also gave them tips and tricks to put into their works. “When I work with books, I always start with sketches and they’re messy,” she explained how her art takes on color and form. She felt it was important to share that not everything is done in one step and uses tools ranging from computer, iPad, Photoshop, paper and pencils to achieve the final product.