La Tantahi Abadan, illustrated by Walid Taher from Egypt and published by UAE-based Al Thuraya Publishing and Distribution, was among the recipients Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Nine Arabic bookmakers, selected from amongst 50 submissions from 12 countries, have been granted financial support by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) under its Children’s Book Makers Platform (Ufuq).

The Ufuq platform supports creators of Arabic content in the children’s books sector and promotes books that feature “high-quality visual content” for children of all age groups, in line with the vision of SBA’s annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival to support and improve children’s literature in the region.

Under Ufuq, SBA offers financial support of $1,500 (around Dh5,500) to each participating illustrator for the production of one book. Participating publishers and illustrators can receive support for up to a maximum of two books.

Who were selected?

Winners of the financial support include Wahdi Wa Laken, illustrated by Sepideh Bratian from Iran and published by Noon from Canada; La Tantahi Abadan, illustrated by Walid Taher from Egypt and published by UAE-based Al Thuraya Publishing and Distribution; Madrasa Fe Al Matbakh, published by Dar Al Buraq from Iraq, with illustrations by Tahira Rezaei from Iran; Kalimat That Al Khoyot Al Sawda, illustrated by Fatima Al Amiri, and published by UAE’s Dar Al Saif Publishing

Other winning entries include two titles published by UAE-based Aram Publishing - Methlona Tamaman, illustrated by Iran’s Maryam Yaktfer and Ghadeer Al Hekayat, illustrated by Afrooz Gholizadeh, also from Iran.

UAE’s Wow Publishing House features two winners by Egypt-based illustrators - Al Modhesh, illustrated by Amira Al Tabii and Bahr Asfar Raml Akhdar, illustrated by Haidi Farouq and Ayna Ekhtafat Al Nojom, illustrated by Hiyam Safwat from Egypt, and published by Tik Tik Publishing from the UAE.

Focus on visual content

Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Exhibitions and Festivals at SBA, said: “The Ufuq platform gives great emphasis to creative content that enhances and advances the children’s literature sector. In this genre, visually appealing content is vital to achieving and fulfilling the intended goal of enriching Arab children’s libraries.”

She added: “Immersive visual content that speaks to the child in a unique manner, stimulates their imaginations and helps them comprehend ideas better is a key element in shaping children’s knowledge and building the foundation for becoming fluent readers. The Ufuq platform seeks to push the boundaries of production and content in the children’s book publishing industry to ensure that qualitative children’s content reaches a wider audience.”