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Artists as young as eight craft their own story books at SCRF 2024

Artists as young as eight craft their own story books at SCRF 2024
4 May 2024 23:58


A lively buzz of creativity hummed through the air at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2024) on Friday as children as young as eight transformed into budding authors at the Wooden Books workshop.

With vibrant imaginations in full swing, the young writers crafted tales that stretched from African savannas to the bustling cities of the UAE.

One eager young author, ten-year-old Isra Mohammed from Sharjah, was filling the pages of her book with her story of Layla, a warm-hearted African elephant on a quest for friendship in unfamiliar lands.

“Layla is very kind and friendly. She’s come all the way from African forests to the UAE to make friends with falcons and camels,” Isra said, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm as she sketched her characters onto wooden squares.

The workshop, a brainchild of Ghiwa Bouyounes—an interior designer with a special knack for educational woodcraft—provided children with plain wooden squares, stencils of various animals and birds, a palette of colours, and threads to bind their creations into unique wooden books.

“It’s a free canvas for their imagination. They can create picture books or weave in dialogues; it’s completely up to them to script their adventures,” Bouyounes explained.

Not far from Isra, nine-year-old Ala Abdullah was engrossed in building the adventures of Ashley, an elephant with a backstory of zoo life in New York, now exploring the Emirates with a local cat guide.

“Ashley might just stay in the UAE forever,” Ala mused, her voice tinged with excitement and possibility.

The Wooden Books workshop is one of four inventive sessions hosted at the festival’s Workstation section.

Bouyounes, passionate about Montessori-style learning, has designed each workshop to hone both motor and creative skills, educating children about different woods and their applications.

“This year, we’ve brought four unique workshops, including furniture making and a car-making studio, tailored for various age groups and skill sets,” Bouyounes noted, outlining the hands-on, educational thrust of each session.

In addition to these, older children are given the chance to build and design furniture, with Friday’s session yielding a series of impressive handcrafted stools, showcasing the participants' engagement and craftsmanship.

Bouyounes will continue to inspire and instruct at these workshops until May 6, with two dynamic sessions scheduled each day.

The 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival has become a hub of creativity and learning, attracting a vibrant tapestry of artists, authors, educators, and industry experts.

Offering a plethora of activities and educational opportunities, the festival is not only a playground for the imagination but also a nexus for cultural exchange and inspiration.

The festival continues to welcome visitors free of charge at the Expo Centre Sharjah until May 12.

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