May 25th, 2021, Sharjah (UAE): How can authors create books to promote critical thinking, learning and creativity in children? This all-important topic was at the heart of a Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2021) Cultural Forum discussion.
“An inspirational book is one that excites and ignites the mind of a child,” said Jordanian author Fida Al-Zamr, one of the participating speakers at the session titled ‘Inspirational Books’.
“The author must take into consideration the age of a child and endeavor to tap into the power of images to deliver messages because illustrations sometimes speak better than words. Most importantly, the book should have attractive characters,” Al-Zamr added.
Stressing on the need for parents to pick books with a sense of humor and charismatic protagonists to keep children hooked, Al-Zamr warned parents in attendance that “if a child isn’t enjoying a book they will simply leave it midway. As authors we should abstain from direct preaching. Instead, we should inject our educational messages through small doses of humor.”
Relating her personal experience about why she decided to put pen to paper when she noticed a dearth of books to reads to her children, which related their faith, values and identity, was the second panelist at the session, Zenubia Arsalan, who told her audience: “When I grew up reading the books I read, I did not identify with any of the characters. They were quite far removed from my life.”
“Today we live in a well-connected global world, we eat different cuisines and know about countries such as Mexico, Sweden, Korea through their food. If our food represents the world we live in, why don’t our books?” she added.
The Dubai-based Pakistani author strongly asserted the need for parents to pick good books and read out loud to their children in fun and engaging ways during the very early years of their life.
Uniting young readers with creators of children’s literature and allied arts the 12th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival runs till May 29 at Expo Centre Sharjah from 4–10pm daily, barring Saturday when its open from 10am–10pm. This edition has also welcomed 172 publishers from 15 countries who are showcasing their latest books and other literary materials at the 11-day event.