Sharjah Ruler Attends Announcement of Books Shortlisted for Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Shortlisted books announced on sidelines of Frankfurt Book Fair. UAE, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iraq compete for ninth edition’s awards

In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, the names of books shortlisted for the 9th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature were announced at the Frankfurt International Book Fair.

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) – organisers of the Award – was also in attendance. The winners of the Arab world’s biggest and most prestigious prize for children’s literature, sponsored by Etisalat, will be announced at the opening of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) next month on 1st November.

The final contestants list was revealed at a gathering organised by the UAEBBY at the Sharjah pavilion in the Frankfurt Book Fair. Also attending were HE Abdul Aziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager of Etisalat Northern Emirates, Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY, and a large number of Arab and international media representatives, international publishers and visitors to the fair.

Commenting on the occasion, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said: “The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature has played an influential role in strengthening the capacity of professionals in the Arab world’s publishing industry for children’s literature. It enables them to provide more distinguished publications that children love to read and helps them to grow more attached to books.”

She added: “Since its inception, the award has been acting as a catalyst for the development of the publishing movement targeting children and young people in the Arab world. The award has also contributed greatly to igniting a love of reading in children, expanding their imagination and increasing their knowledge and awareness, while entertaining them at the same time. More importantly, the award has increased children’s emotional attachment to their native tongue.”

Sheikha Bodour noted: “Although an Arab prize, the Etisalat Award has succeeded in attaining a prominent stature on the global literary stage. This is especially true for the Frankfurt International Book Fair, where it is highly anticipated by children's book publishers, authors and experts from foreign countries who are keen to further intercultural communication and to exchange knowledge about Arab culture.”

HE Abdul Aziz Taryam said: “The Etisalat Award has contributed to inspiring the creative potential of Arabic children’s and Young adult books’ industry, enriching the Arabic library with outstanding titles that can attract wider segments of young readers. This stems from our belief in the need in investment in younger generations who will lead the future. Sponsoring the Award aligns with Etisalat’s corporate social responsibility to play a part in fostering a culture of reading and inculcating the love of book in children.” 

Taryam added: “The prize has been actively involved in enriching cultural life in the UAE and the Arab world because it encourages publishers to embrace and pay greater attention to children's books. Etisalat will continue to sponsor and support this prize due to the impressive results it has attained in previous editions, as well as the major developments it has experienced in terms of the expansion of its categories, updating its eligibility criteria and continuous growth in the number and quality of entries.”

The Shortlisted books in the ‘Children’s Book of the Year’ category, are in (Arabic) alphabetical order: ‘I’m the Superdot’ by Laila Zahed, illustrated by Angela Nurpetlian and published by Turning Point in Lebanon; ‘Hamada, the Happiness Maker’ by Samah Abobakr Ezzat, illustrated by Sahar Abdallah and published by Al Borj Media Publishing and Distribution in the UAE. Other shortlisted books in the same category include ‘Something in my Hand’, written by Hayfa Sawarka, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Al Salwa Publishers in Jordan and ‘Two Homes Instead of One’ by Lorca Sbeity, illustrated by Mona Yakzan and published by Dar Al Saqi in Lebanon.

Five books are shortlisted in the ‘Young Adult’s Book of the Year’ category. They are: ‘One Day the Sun Will Shine’ by Taghreed Najjar, published by Al Salwa Publishers in Jordan; ‘The Phoenix’ by Dr. Sonia Namir, published by Tamer Institute for Community Education in Palestine; ‘When Life Throws Us Together’ by Rania Zbib Daher, published by Academia International in Lebanon. Other shortlisted books include ‘Emirati Proverbs’, by Dr Ali Abdulqader Al Hammadi, published by Al Buragh Publishers in Iraq; and ‘Cappuccino’ by Fatima Sharafeddine, which is published by Dar Al Saqi in Lebanon.

In the ‘Best Text’ category, four books are shortlisted. They are: ‘The Unseen’ by Amal Farah, illustrated by Osama Abou El Ella and published by Shagara publishing house in Egypt; ‘My Mother is a Gorilla and My Father is an Elephant’ by Dr Naseeba Al Ozaibi, illustrated by Abdulrazaque Al Salhany, published by Al Aalm Al Arabi publishing house in the UAE; ‘When the Whale Sneezed’ by Mariam Tarhini, illustrated by Baraa Awoor, and published by Asala publishing house in Lebanon; and ‘Whatever Happened to My Brother Ramiz?’ by Taghreed Najjar, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Al Salwa Publishers in Jordan.

Moving on to the ‘Best Illustration’ category, the four books selected are: ‘Princess Dana’ by Abeer Al-Taher, illustrated by Amar Khattab and published by Dar Al Yasmine in Jordan; ‘White and Black’ by Samah Abobakr Ezzat, illustrated by Sahar Abdallah and published by Al Borj Media Publishing and Distribution in the UAE. The other shortlisted books include ‘The Seventh Day’s Sheep’ by Amina Al Hashemi, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Yanbow Al Kitab in Morocco; and ‘The Olive Tree’ by Eva Kozma, illustrated by Themar Halawani and published by Academia International in Lebanon.

Books that have made it in the category of ‘Best Production’ include ‘Goodbye’ by Nabiha Mheidli, illustrated by Lujayna Al Asil and published by Al Hadaek Group in Lebanon; ‘Something in My Hand’ by Haifa Sawarka, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Al Salwa Publishers’ in Jordan; ‘My World’ by Fatima Sharafeddine, illustrated by Fereshteh Najafi and published by Dar Al Saqi in Lebanon; and ‘Whatever Happened to My Brother Ramiz’ by Taghreed  Najjar, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Al Salwa Publishers in Jordan.

And finally, the latest category introduced in this year’s edition, the ‘Digital Book App of the Year’, has three entries in the running. They are: ‘I Dream to Be’, developed by Bee Studio from Egypt, and targets the age group 4-7 years; ‘Kadi and Ramadi’ application, developed by Kadi and Ramadi publishing house in Saudi Arabia for the age group 4-10 years; and ‘Lamsa’ application, which targets the age group of 2-8 years, which was developed by the Lamsa company in the UAE.