UAEBBY engages nation’s children in virtual storytelling sessions throughout the National Month of Reading

Emirati authors narrate popular folktales to schoolchildren as part of the

UAE Board on Books for Young People’s’Read. Dream. Create’campaign

Sharjah, March 29,2021

In celebration of the UAE’s Month of Reading, observed annually in March, the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) hosted four online storytelling sessions as part of its ‘Read, Dream, Create’ campaign. Emirati authors narrated stories from KhererifaMejerifa, a compilation of traditional fables and folktales of the UAE published by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH). 

Authors Nadia Al Najjar, Noura Khoury, Amira BouKedra, and Maitha Al Khayat lead the engaging sessions, which reflectedUAEBBY’s mission to motivate children across the nation to develop a lifelong love of reading.


Nadia Al Najjar led the storytelling session of BdeihaBdeihofor female students of Al Resalah International School of Science in Sharjah. She discussed the characters and plot of the the folktale, which has similarities toCinderella, one of the most widely-knownfairytales in the world.


Author Noura Khouryexplored with students of Al Maereid Girls’ School Cycle 2 And Secondary Education the narrative style of Ntefanand the subliminal messages embeddedin the story. During the session, she also highlighted the role trade routes played in helping spread folktales around the world and how different geographic locations impacted storylines.

Salem the diver

At her session, Emirati author Amira BouKedra led a vibrant discussion with Al Mataf Primary School students on Salem the diver, a folktale about sea diving thathas been passing down from generation to generation positive messages and the values of honesty and integrity.


Through KhonfarZonfar, a comic tale with a message, author and illustrator Maitha Al Khayat introduced the concept of marriage to pupils of Al Maereid Girls’ School Cycle 2 And Secondary Education. KhonfarZonfarnaratesthe story of a beetle who marries the beetle of her dreams and finds out that she is a second wife.

In 2013, the UAEBBY launched its ‘Read. Dream. Create’ campaign to encourage interaction between children and books, and build their capacity in reading, writing, innovation, and creativity through children’s stories. The campaign is designed to motivate children and young people to read and develop their skills through reading, interpreting stories, and turning their ideas into stories. The campaign also aims to help better understand the needs of the Arab child and thereby identify the issues and topics that should be addressed in Arabic children’s literature.

The UAE chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), UAEBBY was established in 2010, under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, UAEBBY Patron. The entity aims to serve as a driving force for the promotion of a reading culture among children and young adults in the UAE.