The ‘Read, Dream, Create’ campaign, launched by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), thrilled young audiences with a series of live reading sessions at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF).
The sessions, full of passion and energy, were conducted by storytellers Kameran and Emtinan Al Karai, in conjunction with a series of art workshops conducted by conceptual artist Sohaila Ebraheem, in a perfect combination of education and entertainment.
Kameran read a number of stories, including ‘Ana’ (‘I’) and ‘Lughz Al Kibar’ (‘The Grown Up’s Mystery’), ‘Ela Al Madrasa’ (‘Off to School’) by Abir Ballan, ‘Atfe Al Anwar’ (‘Turn off the Lights’).
Storyteller Emtinan Al Karai read 'Taq Taq' by Nabiha Muhaidali, and 'Man Yosaed Al Dajaja' (‘Who Will Help the Chicken?’
Kameran said: “It was an interesting experience presenting the concept of storytelling in a form that is more than a voice reading aloud, I was happy to make it an immersive experience where children saw the sights, heard the sounds and almost touched the characters. Storytelling should be interactive and the children needed to believe that they are part of the story. They were truly able to enjoy reading now and love reading when they are older.”
Sohaila Ebraheem conducted a series of workshops which included decorating balls using simple colours and no complicated tools, to be used at birthday parties and other celebrations.
“The art workshops were excellent at developing children’s coordination and engaging their five senses, which encouraged them to use their creativity. It also had wider implications, for instance, kids who were engaged in recycling learned to be producers as well as consumers and it was a wonderful opportunity to give them a break from their dependence on social media and modern technology.”
The UAEBBY seeks through Read, Dream, Create, which was launched in 2013, to bring children and books together and to promote the importance of reading among Emirati communities. It also aims to encourage children and young people to read, innovate and create. It urges them to develop their writing skills and transform their ideas into engaging, well written stories.
The UAEBBY is the national branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a non-profit organisation which represents an international network of people from all over the world committed to bringing books and children together. The organisation seeks to promote international understanding through children's books; to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to reading material with high literary and artistic standards; to provide support and training for those involved with children and children's literature; to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children's literature; and to protect and uphold the right of children to a general education and direct access to information.