Three prominent publishing houses won awards at the first edition of t he Arab Children’s Book Publisher’s Forum Award. The awards ceremony at the SCRF was attended by HE Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Owais, Presedient of Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) and other prominent figures in the Arab literary world.
The first prize of Dhs25,000 went to Kalimat, the UAE’s first Publishing House dedicated to Arabic Children’s Book. The winning book ‘Majd’s Box’ by author Kifah Bu Ali Al Hamrani speaks about the child’s right to express him or herself and to live in peace and equality amongst other children from around the world.
The book ‘Tolerance of a Small Tree’, written by Abeer Anwar and published by Egyptian publishing house ‘Dar Nahdet Masr’ won the second award worth Dhs15,000 and the book “Zeinab’s Fingers” from Lebanese publishing house Dar Asala won the third award worth Dhs10,000.
Abdul Latif Ashour, Chairman of the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum spoke about the important role of this award in enhancing the level of children’s book publishing in the Arab world. “It’s also great that the first edition of this competition should coincide with Sharjah being named as the Islamic Culture Capital for 2014,” said Ashour, emphasizing the importance of Sharjah culturally.
The judging panel included a literary figure, a representative from a publishing house and an artist. “We made sure that all three aspects of a children’s book – text, illustration and production – were present in the judging panel,” said Mahmoud Hassonah, Executive Secretary of the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum. He explained that 20 publishing houses from around the Arab world took part with no more than 3 books each.
“This award will encourage authors to come up with new ideas, will encourage publishing houses to excel in terms of the final production of the books and will also give publicity to the members of the forum,” said Hassonah.
Heading the panel was Nour Al Huda Al Nuwairi, professor at the Faculty of Literature at Tunis University who praised the works of the entrants and said that the winners ticked all the boxes for a successful children’s book. “This is a very important award, because there’s nothing more important than the child. If we take care of children we take care of the adults of the future,” she said.
Also in the panel were Nourhan Mohamad – Head of the Combined Publishing and Children’s Book Department at the Egyptian-Lebanese Publishing House and UAE Artist and Illustrator Mattar Bin Lahej.
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Aliaa Al Ori