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(L) Hamoud bin Ali Al Touqi and (R) Nanette Hefferman during their session at SCRF 2022 Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Awareness about the environment amongst children always starts at home, Omani writer Hamoud bin Ali Al Touqi said during a discussion titled ‘Beloved Planet Earth’ at the ongoing 13th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF).

Al Touqi, writer and editor of a magazine, shared one of the most important topics he strives to raise awareness about is preserving marine life. “We have to preserve it and parents have a huge role in nurturing environment-conscious children,” he explained.

American writer Nanette Hefferman, who was in the same discussion forum, said it was her mother who inspired her with her picture book titled ‘Earth Hour.’ She shared: “My mother inculcated my love for nature by encouraging me to do gardening at a young age. That’s when I got my connection to mother nature.”

Both authors agreed that parents, teachers, authors and community leaders can help children make an emotional connect with environmental issues. “Once you make that connection you are raising a generation of people who will fight for what they believe,” they added.

The American author of the Empirium Trilogy, The Year of Shadows and Extasia traced her arduous path to success and gave her young fans tips on a career in writing

Power of daydreaming

In a separate forum, American author Claire Legrand said: “Daydreaming is an important component of writing.”

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Claire Legrand during her talk at the event Image Credit: Supplied

She told aspiring writers in the audience “the power of daydreams help the brain to wander” .

“If I hadn’t believed in the value of my voice and the power of my daydreams, imagination and creativity, I wouldn’t be able to see my characters in shops around the world,” she asserted.

Legrand also told her audience “not to think about wasted time as all those experiences make up one’s voice”. The New York Times best-selling author of 11 novels reminisced how she managed to publish her first work Furyborn in 2018, after 16 years of trying and failing.

“Your voice has value; daydreaming is important. Never give up and find the things that feel right,” she said.

Beauty of Islamic tile painting

Meanwhile, some children aged 5-10 years old tried their hands at Islamic tile painting. Children were given a blank square canvas, where they drew geometric lines and patterns with water colours of their choice, revealing beautiful star-shaped designs.

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One of many children's workshops at the festival at Expo Centre Sharjah Image Credit: Supplied

Don’t miss

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is free to enter.

Catch it until Sunday, May 22, at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday (9am- 8pm);

Friday (4pm-9pm);

Saturday and Sunday (9am- 9pm)