Journey into the world of 'Leila and the Wolf': Children at the Wild Mask workshop were given a small blanket each to wrap themselves in a reminder of Leila’s grandmother who was sleeping under a blanket before the wolf replaced her on the bed. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Young children embarked on an immersive journey into the world of “Leila and the Wolf”, an Arabic version of the Little Red Riding Hood fable, and learnt a few lessons about safety and familial love at the “Wild Mask” workshop during the 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) taking place in Expo Centre Sharjah.

Introducing three-eight year-olds to the workshop, trainer Amira Al Saleh showed them the cartoon popular on Ostratouna TV, and explained to them how to make a journey to visit their sick grandmother overcoming challenges and dangers on the way that Little Red Riding Hood or Leila had encountered.

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The first task for them was to fill their allotted baskets with fruits and vegetables, where she subtly gave them lessons in healthy eating. Then came a little playtime where they were instructed to pick emojis from a table; like in a musical chair game, the children vied to circle the table laid out with various emojis and grab the emoji that she called out at the end of a song.

Next, they were given a small blanket each to wrap themselves in a reminder of Leila’s grandmother who was sleeping under a blanket before the wolf replaced her on the bed. The warmth and safety of a mother’s love was conveyed to them through the blanket. Crossing the woods or the roads was the next hurdle, and they moved to a table laden with a street model and understood how to cross the roads.

The scene then moved to the TV screen where they grasped the dangers of opening the door to strangers and how to stay safe at home and obey parental instructions.

According to Al Saleh, the session was meant “to teach children how to cross roads safely, eat healthy, obey parents and beware of strangers”. The captivating storytelling helped children gain a deeper understanding of the eternal battle between good and evil as well as the significance of integrity and courage in facing life’s diverse challenges.

SCRF 2024, which will come to a close on May 12, has the theme “Once Upon a Hero”. The action-packed festival for young readers, artists and creatives as well as their families showcases millions of books including latest releases in children’s and Young Adult (YA) literature from across the globe.