November 5th, 2019, Sharjah (UAE): “Cultural events like the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) play a tremendous role in inculcating a love of reading in the young generation through the hosting of multiple edutainment activities and interactive reading sessions,” remarked Emirati author Sheikha Mariam Saqr Al Qasimi while addressing more than 50 school students at the book fair.
She was speaking at an interactive discussion hosted by Knowledge without Borders (KwB), a Sharjah-based cultural initiative that encourages parents and children to spend more time on reading.
Sheikha Mariam Al Qasimi, winner of the Prize for Young Children’s Literature at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival Awards 2018, said, “Promoting cultural awareness amongst children and bringing them closer to books require continuous and collaborative efforts. We should not force children to read; we have to find the right way to encourage them to pick up books and enjoy reading.”
The KwB session also hosted Grade 5 Emirati student Mezna Najeeb, winner of the Arab Reading Challenge 2019. The young Mezna expressed her happiness about being part of the discussion, and said she hoped it would inspire a love of reading in her peers. She called upon the young audience to “make books your best friend and reading, a regular habit.”
“Reading is as vital to life as is food, clothing and shelter,” she said.
More than 50 primary school students attended the session which discussed Sheikha Mariam Al Qasimi’s latest children’s book, Diversity. By encouraging children to interact with the events and characters of the book, the session sought to highlight the values of cooperation, tolerance, understanding and teamwork amongst them. It also aimed to promote reading habits and bring the young students closer to books.
Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of KwB, said, “Through our initiatives and participation in cultural events, we seek to enhance children’s creative skills and raise a capable generation of readers.”
“This fun peer-to-peer interacting with Sheikha Mariam Al Qasimi and Mezna Najeeb enabled the audience to understand the role and importance of books and reading, especially as it was asserted by role models their age. The award-winning children’s author and passionate reader has surely left an impact on the minds of her audience. She’s a true role model for her peers in the Arab world.”
About Knowledge Without Borders (KwB)
Knowledge Without Borders (KwB) is a cultural initiative launched in 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. It is closely supervised and supported by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of KwB’s Organising Committee and Vice President of the International Publishers Association (IPA).
It aims to spread the reading habit and increase general knowledge within the local community. KwB intends to further cement Sharjah’s reputation as the UAE’s Cultural Capital through its educational programmes and initiatives dedicated to foster a culture of reading and strengthen the foundations of civilisation.
KwB’s portfolio of projects/initiatives includes ‘Home Library’, ‘Mobile Library’, ‘Knowledge Cart’, ‘Neighbourhood Library’, ‘Digital Library’, ‘1001 Titles Initiative’, ‘Take a Book, Leave a Book’, and ‘Coffee and Book’, and many others.