UAE - A group of 25 well-known children’s authors from five continents will be leading a cultural programme at the 13th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), which will run from May 11 to May 22 at the emirate’s Expo Centre.

Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the annual festival for children and the youth is themed ‘Create Creativity’ this year.

Among those who will be on the festival stage is Kyle Balda, American animator and film director, who co-directed children’s movies like Minions and did the animation for Despicable Me and Jumanji.

Also attending the SCRF is the author of the bestseller Big Noah Little Boa, Ken Spillman from Australia, who has written 90 books so far.

British author-illustrator Curtis Jobling, who is best known as the designer of Bob the Builder TV show, will be a celebrity presence at SCRF this year, in addition to Sebastian de Souza, actor-author who wrote the time-travelling adventure story Kid: A History of the Future.

The list also includes Vashti Harrison, author-illustrator of children’s books like Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, Little Legends. She is also a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children.

Claire Legrand, author of eleven novels, most notably the Empirium Trilogy, will fly in from the US along with Kobi Yamada, award-winning children’s author of picture books such as What Do You Do With An Idea? and What Do You Do With A Problem?

Shanda McCloskey, who writes and illustrates children’s books and enjoys talking to kids about robots, drones, and stories with words and pictures; and Alicia D. Williams, author of children’s titles such as Genesis Begins Again; and Nanette Heffernan, author of Earth Hour are other US authors at the festival.

Among the Indian authors who will be joining the SCRF are journalist Purva Grover, best known for The Trees Told Me So; children’s author and poet Vibha Batra, author of Incognito; Anita Vachharajani, whose pictorial book Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush won the Sahitya Akademi award; and Priya Kuriyan, author of Ammachi’s Glasses who doubles as an illustrator and comics maker.

Other literary figures whose presence will enrich the SCRF are Ahmed Shah of Pakistan, author and publisher Mireia Trius of Spain; and British author Sharna Jackson who lives in the Netherlands and whose latest book The Good Turn is a spooky mystery.

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