SCRF: Fostering children’s social awareness for brighter future
May 19, 2022 / 1:50 PM
Sharjah24: The 13th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) is raising awareness among children about the need to challenge stereotypes, the value of compassion, and other social issues through engaging stories brought to the 12-day festival by Dar Al Saqi, the Beirut-based imprint of Al Saqi Books in London.
The titles displayed by the publisher provide early education on socially conscious topics. Founded in 1984, the bookshop and publishing house is dedicated to supporting the free flow of ideas and knowledge for all – children included.
Recently announced the winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2022 in the Children’s Literature category, The Mystery of the Glass Ball by Syrian author Maria Daadoush teaches children to embrace cultural diversity. The book tells the tale of a 12-year-old boy who befriends a little girl from Spain while on holiday with his grandfather and embarks on a series of daring adventures with her.
Like Daadoush’s story, many other Dar Al Saqi publications highlight key issues of inclusion and diversity, including Down syndrome and vitiligo.
With 54,000 copies in print, The Red Line by Samar Mahfouz Barraj from Lebanon is their current bestseller. Targeted at 7- to 9-year-olds, the book aims to instil the concepts of body autonomy and consent in children’s minds from an early age.
Egyptian author Samar Taher’s book I Dream of Becoming a Doctor is part of a series by Dar Al Saqi that encourages children to think outside the box when planning their future careers. Challenging gender stereotypes in the workforce, the story centres on a girl named Sasha, an aspiring doctor who dreams of one day discovering ground-breaking medical treatments.
The illustrations by Betania Zacharias portray Sasha with a dark skin tone, to send a message of self-love and self-acceptance to young female readers in defiance of conventional beauty standards.
The series includes titles about a variety of other professions as well, such as fashion design, journalism and culinary arts, explaining the skills required for each job.
Dar Al Saqi’s books are available for purchase at SCRF 2022.