Final winners to be announced at SIBF next month
The announcement of the books shortlisted for the 7th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature was attended by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah on Thursday at the Frankfurt International Book Fair in Germany.
The shortlist winners were announced in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager in the Northern Emirates at Etisalat, Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board and a large number of international media representatives, international publishers and visitors to the fair.
The winners of the region’s premier literary prize for children’s literature will be announced during the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) taking place next month.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi emphasized that the Etisalat Award for Children’s Literature will carry on with the mission it started seven years ago, to develop Arab children’s books by motivating professionals in this sector to release high quality books in terms of both content and design in order to inspire, educate and motivate the next generation of young Arabs to live up to the aspirations of a better future.
“The main goal of the award is to provide outstanding Arab books that can attract children to read, while developing their cognitive abilities. We see publishers, authors and illustrators show ever greater interest in participating in the award, and they are producing high quality titles for children and adolescents,” said Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi added that this growing interest had resulted in publishing professional from beyond the Arab world entering the competition. “This is evidenced by entries from the UK and Canada who are participating in the award for the first time, along with 10 Arab countries,” adding, “The future depends on the development of our children and we know that reading is a fundamental tool, and learned skill, that will improve intellect, garner knowledge and increase the capabilities of our youth. Therefore, we must continue working on development of Arab children’s books for the future of our nations.”
Abdulaziz Taryam said, “The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature has contributed positively to the cultural and social change that we aspire to bring about in the Arab world, by enriching the content of children’s and young adult’s books and increasing their appeal. The award plays a prominent role in encouraging publishers, authors and illustrators to enhance the Arabic children’s book library with creative titles, and to provide texts that help unlock the potential of our talented youth. We aim to encourage those working in the children’s book industry to show off their skills and allow them the opportunity to hone and develop their talent.”
This year’s edition saw strong competition between 97 entries in both children’s book and young adult categories from 12 Arab countries, namely the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine, the UK and Canada, with 62 books in the children’s book category and 35 books in the young adult category.
Lebanon is in the lead in terms of shortlisted books nominated to win the award with five books, followed by Egypt and Palestine with two books, and finally Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, with one book each.
All the shortlisted books are arranged according to the Arabic alphabet. The shortlisted books in the Children’s Book of the Year category are: “Me and My Granny” published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, written and illustrated by Ebtihaj Al Harthi; The Judge’s Mule”, written by Shafeek Mehdi and illustrated by Taiba Abdullah, and published by Iraqi-based Al Buragh Publisher; “Without a Hat”, published by Kuwait –based Seedan Media, written by Latifa Boti and Illustrated by Doha Al Khateeb, “Semsem in Mom’s Tummy”, written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Mai Yakzan, published by Lebanese publisher Dar Al Saqi.
In the Young Adult Book category, the shortlisted books include: “Getting out of the Bubble”, published by Egyptian Al Balsam, written by Ibrahim Shalabi; “Jerusalem is My First City”, published by Palestine-based Al Zayzafona Develop Child’s Culture, written by Mahmoud Shukair; “Tea Party in Cinderella’s Palace”, written by Arwa Khamis and published by Saudi Arwa Al Arabeia; “Hen of the House that is Gone”, written by Hassan Abdullah and published by Lebanese Academia International; “Yellow Corn Hostel” published by Palestinian Al Dar Alahlia, written by Anas Abu Rahma;
The shortlisted books in Best Text category are: “Me and My Granny” published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, written and illustrated by Ebtihaj Al Harthi; “The Rhyme of Return”, published by Egypt-based Nahdet Mist Publishing House, written by Afaf Tubala, and illustrated by Reem Haiba; “The City’s Memory”, published by Lebanese Academia International, written by Rania Zbib Daher and illustrated by Lina Ghibeh; and “Semsem in mom’s tummy”, written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Mai Yakzan, published by Lebanese publisher Dar Al Saqi.
Four books are shortlisted for the Best Illustration category. They include “The Judge’s Mule”, written by Shafeek Mehdi and illustrated by Taiba Abdullah, and published by Iraqi-based Al Buragh Publisher; “Without a Hat”, published by Kuwait –based Seedan Media, written by Latifa Boti and Illustrated by Doha Al Khateeb, ” Semsem in Mom’s Tummy”, written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Mai Yakzan, published by Lebanese publisher Dar Al Saqi; and “Nour Runs Away from the Story”, published by Syria-based Bright Fingers, written by Abeer Ali Al Kalbani and illustrated by Gulnar Hajo.
The four books shortlisted in the Best Production category are: “The Wonder’s Bag”, published by Lebanese publisher Dar Al Saqi, written by Omima Ezz Eldin, and illustrated by Tina Makhlof; “The Judge’s Mule”, written by Shafeek Mehdi and illustrated by Taiba Abdullah, and published by Iraqi-based Al Buragh Publisher; “Semsem in Mom’s Tummy”, written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Mai Yakzan, published by Lebanese publisher Dar Al Saqiand; “Who wants a Mommy with a Moustache?”, published by Turning Point, written by Daliya Al Manhal Mirza and illustrated by Maya Majdalani.
The AED1 million Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature is distributed as follows: AED 300,000 for the Children’s Book of the year, to be distributed equally between the author, illustrator and publisher (AED 100,000 each); AED 200,000 for the Young Adult Book of the year, to be distributed equally between the author and publisher (100,000 AED each); and 300,000 AED for the Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production categories (100,000 AED each). The remaining Dhs200, 000 is set aside for workshops on writing, illustration, and production aimed at nurturing and inspiring the next generation of young Arab talent in the children’s book industry.
The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, sponsored by Etisalat, was launched in 2009 by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, UAEBBY Founder and Patron, with the aim of fostering a culture of reading and instilling a love of Arabic books in children by giving recognition to creative authors, illustrators and publishers in the children’s book industry and thereby encouraging the production of more high quality Arabic children’s books in terms of the text, design and direction.