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Sixteen titles of 14 authors representing 11 publishers from six Arab countries have been shortlisted for the 13th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and supported by the Etisalat Group. The final winners of the AED 1.2 million award will be announced at a ceremony held during the Sharjah International Book Fair 2021 which takes place from 3-13 November.

The shortlisted books in the ‘Early Reader’ category include: ‘I Wish You’ by Asma’a Amara, illustrated by Noha Mohammad, and published by Dar El Shorouk Publishing Distribution and Printing, Egypt; ‘ABZ’ by Samar Mahfouz Baraj, illustrated by Sinan Hallak, and published by Dar Al Saqi, Lebanon. Other contenders in this category include ‘It is Simple’ by Manar Hazzaa, illustrated by Basma Hosam, and published by Al Alia Publishing House, Egypt; ‘Three Smart Foxes’ by Amal Nasser, illustrated by Nadine Issa and published by Hekaiat Qamar Publishing, KSA; as well as ‘My Hands’ by Rahima Belfar, illustrated by Besent Dawood and published by Al Alia Publishing House, Egypt.

Akh’ by Manar Hazzaa, illustrated by Sohela Khalid, and published by Al Alia Publishing House, Egypt has secured a spot in the shortlist of books under the ‘Picture Book’ category. Other shortlisted titles in this category include: ‘The Superhero’ by Nusaibah Al Azibi, illustrated by Hassan Manasra and published by Dar Ashjar Publishing & Distribution, UAE; ‘My Pants are Short on Me’ by Maria Daadoush, illustrated by Celeste Iris, and published by Al Salwa Publishing House, Jordan; ‘Holes in my Sister’s Brain!’ by Abeer Ali, illustrated by Gulnar Hajo and published by Hachette Antoine/Naufal, Lebanon; as well as “What if you Found an Angry Dragon in your House?” by Amal Nasser, illustrated by Reem Al Askari and published by Hekaiat Qamar Publishing, KSA.

Under the ‘Chapter Book’ category, shortlisted books are: ‘“I Object! Dinosaurs are not Extinct” by Wiam Ahmed Mahmoud, illustrated by Hiam Safwat and published by Al Alia Publishing House, Egypt; “My New Nightmare”, written and illustrated by Lubna Taha and published by Dinosaun Publishing, Palestine; ‘The Orange Ball’, by Tamara Samir Qashha, illustrated by Yeganeh Yaghoob and published by Al Yasmine Publishing House, Jordan.

Dates and Masala’ by Mohamed Zakaria Nabulsi, illustrated by Yasser Jueisa and published by “W” Publishing House, UAE; ‘It’s Like you Grew a Flower in my Bangs’ by Anas Abu Rahma, illustrated by Ibrahim Jawabra, and published by Dinason Publishing, Palestine; ‘Small Escape’ by Afaf Tabbala, illustrated by Mariam Hani Abdel Salam, and published by Nahdet Misr Publishing House, Egypt, have been featured in the shortlist of titles in the ‘Young Adult Book’ category.

The ‘Comics Book’ category does not feature a shortlist as submissions did not meet the criteria.

The Etisalat Award 2021 comprises of five categories valued at AED 180,000 for each and distributed equally between the author, illustrator, and publisher with AED 60,000 for each, except for the ‘Young Adult Book’ category which will be equally distributed between the author and publisher with AED 90,000 for each.

Additionally, as part of the award’s ‘Warsha’ programme, which was launched in 2013 with aims to discover and nurture a new generation of writers, illustrators and publishers, AED 300,000 will be dedicated to workshops that harness people’s ability to write and illustrate children’s books.