Curtis Jobling and Amal Farah at SCRF 2021: Role of reading is to ignite the imagination

12thSharjah Children’s Reading Festival highlights the need to createthe kind of books that will inspire children to read

For immediate release
Sharjah, May 21, 2021

In an age where technology has placed a gadget in the hands of children from toddlers to teenagers, reading tends to sometimes take a backseat, but it is through the world of books that children can access their own imagination.

This was the theme of a Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2021) discussion on its opening night on Wednesday, which hosted British illustrator, animator and author Curtis Jobling and multi-award-winning Egyptian author Amal Farah, in a Cultural Forum session titled ‘Smart Ideas’. Expressing an idea that leads to creating absorbing literature was the topic of discussion at this session.

“It’s very important for children to see their parents reading” saidJobling. Creator of the award-winning animated series, Bob the Builder, Jobling’sown love of reading began at the young age of 5-6 years when he started going to the local library with his mother.

Elaborating on thispoint, Amal Farah said, “we only know reading as limited to a book. As Arabs we know our ancestors read and mapped the stars.” Author of 40 children’s books, Farah is convinced the only way parents can keep a child’s imagination ignited is to continue reading to them even after their child has learnt how to do it themselves.

“Books for childrenshould be simple and must present a number of questions to the reader. A book that suggests questions opens a magical gate inside the child’s head,” the author added.

Speaking online from his writing chair in the UK,Curtis Jobling agreed that when it comes to children’s books, simplicity is key. “Bob the Builder connected with kids because the story is honest and simple. The design of the show is bright and one decided to use only primary colours.”

Along with Bob the Builder, Jobling has designed his own animated series, ‘Frankenstein’s Cat’ and ‘Raa Raa the Noisy Lion’ and is the author of the epic fantasy novels, ‘Wereworld.’Recipient of theHans Christian Andersen Award for 2018, Farah shifted to writing short stories for children after a successful career as reporter and journalist.

32 authors from 15 countries are attending the 12th edition of SCRF which runs till 29th May 2021. An elite group of Arab and international illustrators are also participating in the 9th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition, on the sidelines of SCRF, where artists and illustrators from 50 countries will be exhibiting their works.