SHARJAH, The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) celebrated World Book and Copyright Day in style at the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF) Monday with a host of events and activities which included gifts of 600 books to visitors and a storytelling session and crafts workshop.

The EPA provided 100 gift bags for children and 100 for adults, each of which included three books. The books, which spanned a variety of genres were sponsored by Sharjah-based cultural initiative, Knowledge without Borders.

During school visits to the 10th edition of SCRF, which runs until April 28 at Expo Centre Sharjah under the theme 'Your Future Just a Book Away', the EPA conducted a handicraft workshop for young children, showing them how to make their own bookmarks and decorate their books and diaries, while emphasising the importance of recycling paper.

The UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day was founded in 1995 and is now observed by millions of people in over 100 countries, enabling them to discover, make the most of and explore in greater depth the publishing world. It also reinforces the status of books as great sources of knowledge and heritage, windows into other cultures and tools for dialogue.

Since 2000, the World Book and Copyright Day has also inspired the UNESCO World Book Capital City, which has selected Sharjah as its host for 2019.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the EPA, said: "This is an important celebration for everyone involved in books, from authors and illustrators to publishers and readers, and the EPA has always held the philosophy that celebrating literature in all its forms is integral to a progressive and civilised society.'' "Ultimately, we must think of the generations to come and motivate them to not only read books as a necessity, but nurture a passion for literature and a thirst for knowledge. As a society, the sooner we can introduce our children to reading, the more innovative, creative and culturally aware they become, and through our role, and the role of our members, we believe we can contribute to making these readers of today the leaders of tomorrow."

The EPA was founded in 2009 upon an initiative by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi who led the efforts to advance the publishing industry in the UAE. The organisation is dedicated to serving and developing the publishing sector and advancing the role of Emirati publishers through training and mentorship programmes. EPA represents the interests of professionals in the UAE's publishing industry by working on advancing their rights and has a remit to improve the conditions of the profession and its related laws in coordination with concerned authorities locally and internationally.

Source: Emirates News Agency