Enroll in a summer reading camp, review a book, or make yourself comfortable at a library — the country is full of opportunities that are preparing a generation of readers
Often, one complains how things slow down during the summer. Not if you are into books, we’d say. For, summer is the time when many of us, children and adults, put aside hours for reading. Yes, summer is time to pause and spend time with a few good books. And the numbers prove that we’re doing a good job at it.
Since its opening in June 2022, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library has attracted more than 40,000 visitors across different age groups and nationalities. During this period, they issued more than 34,000 visitors’ tickets and their avant-garde auto-store received around 1,000 requests for borrowing books by the members.
Such numbers suggest much, and when coupled with the multiple initiatives continually launched by the government authorities and various other institutes does suggest that the country is reading. Here’s what you can do to make the most of the summer.
The must-stopover, the library
“Driven by our firm belief in the importance of offering free access to library resources for all and supporting the advancement of the cultural scene in Dubai, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library welcomes visitors from different interests, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and age groups,” said Dr. Mohammed Salem Al Mazrouei, member of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library. Once inside, you can spend time at its various sections including Periodicals Library, Children’s Library, Young Adults Library, Emirates Library, General Library, Media and Art Library, Business Library, and Maps and Atlases Library.
The Children Library contains more than 25,000 titles, including storybooks, reference books, encyclopedias, early learning books, and board books for pre-schoolers and first graders. Also, the General Library, one of the largest departments, includes more than 29,000 titles with various topics that suit different interests, such as languages, history, geography, philosophy, health, sports, self-development, and literature, including novels and short stories, available in both Arabic and English.
A fair of used books for as little as Dh2 Just last week, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) launched the inaugural Hatta Used-Book Fair as part of the Dubai Public Library (DPL) summer camp, which kicked off on July 31 and will run until August 28. As part of this year’s programme, the summer camp (for children between 5 and 15 yrs) includes varied activities like the Painting and Creativity workshop with Emirati artist Aisha Alhamrani, the Travel through Art workshop that will take participants on a journey to explore works of art, such as the Temple of Dendur and the Maman sculpture, among other great contemporary art pieces.
The programme also includes workshops during which children will learn the art of writing; making and decorating carpets by weaving pieces of cloth; making a table out of wood; arranging flowers; making candles, perfumes, and soap; decorating cakes, etc. Meanwhile, the Hatta Used-Book Fair is offering 2,588 used books for adults and children, including Arabic novels, religious books, and books on law, poetry, medicine, education, technology, finance, history, etc.; at nominal prices ranging between Dh2 and Dh10. The camp is also hosting interactive reading sessions with writers Badriya Al Shamsi, Noura Khoury, Nadia Al Najjar, Wafa Al Shamsi and Afra Mahmoud.
A celebration of culture diversity
As part of the ongoing 2022 Summer Camp: A Trip Around the World at House of Wisdom, Sharjah, young explorers (for children between 5 -12 yrs) can familiarise themselves with the cultures and geography of nations as diverse as the UAE, Japan, Jordan, India, China, and the Philippines. The distinctive educational experience celebrates cultural diversity and fosters an appreciation for unique traditions and practices from around the globe.
With passports and boarding tickets in hand, the participants can delve into the customs, language, food, geography, flora and fauna, and landmarks of 16 chosen destinations. The Little Reader, a dedicated space for reading and learning for children here, aspires to ignite young minds with a vibrant mix of storytelling sessions, workshops, and travel excursions around the globe during the break.
Read a book, travel to an exciting destination
Rewayat, an imprint of Kalimat Group that publishes translated and Arabic literary works for adults, is motivating readers to read a book during the holidays with the launch of the Sayfak Rewaya, a summer reading campaign that will enable six lucky book lovers to travel to six exciting destinations. Held in partnership with Emirates, the campaign provides an opportunity for participants to review books by six select authors, whose titles are part of the Rewayat.
The campaign, which runs until mid-September, is aimed at encouraging community members to utilise their time during the summer to read and learn. Participants can submit a review for a selected title and publish it on social media platforms as a video review of the chosen title. Six winners will receive two tickets each to travel to six countries based on their reviews of the titles that include Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Weep not Child, Adam Zagajewski Poetry, Burhan Sönmez’s Labyrinth, Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Soderberg, Orphic Paris by Henry Cole, and If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. The campaign is aligned with Sharjah and the UAE’s vision to nurture a culture of reading among community members and expand their knowledge.