The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair rolls into its final day.
Crown Prince's book gift gives fair a boost
ABU DHABI // A donation by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, of Dh3 million worth of book coupons to students and libraries has enlivened the 22nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, organisers said yesterday.
Thousands have attended the event at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, many students from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, who were given the coupons to buy books
Mohammed Al Shihi, the director of publishing for the fair, which ends today, said the initiative had helped to get across the event's social message.
"It is not just a bazaar where people come to buy books, it is so much more," said Mr Al Shihi.
Highlights have been readings by authors and workshops.
Under Sheikh Mohammed's scheme, some libraries received up to Dh70,000.
"We are giving away these coupons even to kindergarten students to encourage reading at a young age," said Rashid Ali, the development director of the National Library Collection and head of coupon distribution at the fair.
"This programme is essential for encouraging students to read for entertainment, not just for school."
Mr Ali said it was a challenge to attract children during their spring holiday.
"We made sure we worked with Abu Dhabi Educational Council in communicating to the schools about the fair early on, he said. "Students were lining up outside the doors from the very first day."
Jennifer Steil, an American writer and journalist, who is due to speak at the fair today, praised the effort to attract youngsters.
"One thing they've done really well is involving children," she said. "It's essential to get children reading. Reading is an essential part of life, critical to connecting to others."