Sharjah: Sharjah has been named Guest of Honour at the 57th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2020, often regarded as one of the most prestigious children’s book fairs in the world, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) announced on Monday.

The announcement, which came during SBA’s participation in the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico, reflects the emirate’s efforts in promoting children’s love of literature and the arts.

The ongoing emphasis on cultural education, festivals and exhibitions for young people continues to deliver the vision of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. It also follows the directives of Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of Dr Shaikh Sultan and chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.

Among the annual events dedicated to children in Sharjah are the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Sharjah Children’s Biennial, and Sharjah Children Shura Council. The Sharjah International Book Fair — the third largest in the world — also attracts vast numbers of schoolchildren and young people over the course of its 11-day run.

The emirate is also home to the headquarters of the UAE Board on Books for Young People, the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum, the Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment and the Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators.

“Sharjah’s children enjoy a very special status that is unparalleled in the region, thanks to a wide range of strategies, campaigns and initiatives that encourage an atmosphere of learning and a thirst for knowledge. To be named Guest of Honour by the Bologna Book Fair is a wonderful testament to the emirate’s ambitions and achievements,” said Ahmad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA.

“We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to share our experiences in the world of children’s literature during the 2020 edition of Bologna book fair, which will be an enormous celebration of Emirati culture and Arab heritage associated with young people.”

Elena Pasoli, exhibition manager at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, said: “The fair is scrupulous in its selection of the Guest of Honour, with the focus being placed on cities, countries and regions with great cultural heritage, or those that have established new platforms for producing books which target children and young people, nurturing their critical thinking and expanding the scope of their creativity. Given the rich cultural experience of the Emirate of Sharjah, we are delighted to welcome it as the Guest of Honour in April 2020,” she added.