With a theme that perfectly captures the truth of reading and its importance in a child’s life, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), a seminal literary and cultural extravaganza for children and young adults in the Arab region, has been playing a stellar role in encouraging young minds to enrich their imagination through the written word. The relevance of ‘Your Future ... Just a Book Away’ as a theme is timeless and the 2,600 cultural and literary events and activities at the festival are reiterations of it.

In its 10th edition, the event this year brings together 134 publishers from 18 Arab and foreign countries and 286 authors, poets and literary guests from 121 countries — an effort that is not only a testimony to the scale of the festival, but also to its commitment to inspire and energise children to give their intellect an early workout. The array of talks, workshops and discussions in the festival line-up offer fun as well as stimulating experiences in reading for children and embody an organic approach towards a laudable purpose.

The more children are shown the many possibilities of self-development through reading, and the various approaches to these possibilities, the greater the chance of them forging a lasting relationship with books, a bond that augurs well for a creative, progressive future. The combination of education, fun and entertainment is a fail-proof strategy that has seen the festival grow in stature year after year. For parents who aspire to motivate their offsprings to adopt the culture of reading, as well as for young bookworms looking for new stimuli, events like these are a stepping stone to greater pursuits of intellect.