Children enjoy interactive animal play shows at Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

He runs games, where he divides children into teams of land and sea animals. One of his games is to understand the depth of the ocean. “It’s an adventure game where they can search for knowledge and have fun at the same time. I sing while strumming the guitar at the end of each game, and in this way I give them an edutainment entertainment”, explained Stephan.

The Robot Zoo is the latest addition to the annual SCRF, which opened at Expo Center Sharjah on Wednesday. Organized by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), this year’s edition is themed “Creating Creativity”. SCRF runs daily until May 22.

Another highlight of the SCRF is the kitchen area. American chef Dario Steven, a culinary instructor from Miami, Florida, USA, led a live cooking demonstration on Wednesday evening with two recipes from his book, “Chef D Cooks the World”.

Skilled in the kitchens of the world, Dario asked for volunteers from the public and helped young people express themselves creatively through cooking. He said, “I always want to inspire kids to cook, whether it’s for hobbies at home or to become professional chefs later in life.”

Dario guided the children in making Brazilian beef skewers. He also danced with them while mixing a tasty marinade. The second dish he and the kids made was the Canadian poutine, a combination of fries and mozzarella cheese, topped with gravy.

After perusing various SCRF pavilions, visitors and bookworms alike can relax and read on worm-shaped sofas at the Sharjah Public Library (SPL) pavilion.

The unique pavilion attracts children and their parents understand the role of libraries in acquiring the habit of reading. Storytelling sessions, cultural activities and workshops are also organized throughout the day for children aged 7 to 17.

Maissa Al Jabban, an Arab author and storyteller, kept the magic of storytelling alive by creatively telling nine different stories to young audiences.

Targeting children aged six and up, the retelling of Aesop’s Fables tales gave children moral lessons about love, friendship and other aspects of life. Other interesting stories told were about an ogre and a boy named Hassan; the friendship between the hen and the geese; Shashabon the spider learning to hunt its prey; the apple tree and the boy; and the crow adorned with colorful feathers. Al Jabban also shared the stories from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. She said each story had a moral lesson that children would bring and understand as they grew up.

The Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is free. Catch it until May 22 at Expo Center Sharjah

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday (9am-8pm); Friday (4-9 p.m.); Saturday and Sunday (9am-9pm)

James C. Tibbs