Nearly 30 bestselling children’s authors have now been confirmed as attending the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, to be held this year at the Expo Center, Sharjah between April 15th-25th. They include Britain’s Andy Stanton and Tony De Saulles and America’s Fawzia Gilani-Williams.
Andy Stanton is best known for his disgustingly funny Mr Gum series about a ridiculous man who hates children, animals and fun. The nine Mr Gum books have sold over a million copies, have been translated into 29 languages and have won international prizes including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the prestigious Red House Children’s Book Award, previously held by JK Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson. In 2012 the first four Mr Gum stories were turned into audiobooks by Kate Winslet. The Guardian newspaper calls Stanton’s work, ‘Cult humour for kids.’
Teacher and librarian Fawzia Gilani-Williams first began writing children’s books when she realised that there was not one single book celebrating Eid in the children’s department of her local library in Ohio – although there were lots of books about Christmas and Hanukkah. She has now written several Eid stories for children, as well as Islamic retellings of fairytales such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. All are beautifully illustrated.
Illustrator Tony De Saulles has been drawing the popular Horrible Science books for kids since the first title, Ugly Bugs, was published in 1996. Horrible Science books aim to get children interested in science by concentrating on the unusual or unpleasant. They have now sold over 10 million copies in over 30 countries and won multiple awards. The latest title – the 28th – is called Horrible Science House Of Horrors. It’s all about the creatures that lurk in our houses, from roaches to rats, bats and worse.
Stanton, Gilani-Williams and De Saulles are just three of the dozens of authors travelling to the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival this April from Britain, France, America, Canada and beyond. Between them they have written nearly 200 books and entertained children on four continents. A rich programme of cultural events runs throughout the Festival. On Saturday April 19th from 18.00 – 19.00, Fawzia will lead the panel discussion, ‘1001 Arabian Nights: The Sources of Children’s Stories’. On Friday 25th from 18.00 – 19.00, Andy will lead the panel discussion, ‘The Cultural Challenges of Raising A Child.’ The full Cultural Programme for the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival will be released in due course.
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Aliaa Al Ori