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The 13th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), which takes place in Expo Centre Sharjah from May 11 – 22, will feature a stellar group of 25 international children’s authors.

Kyle Balda will participate in this edition of the festival, who co-directed children’s films like Minions and did the animation for Despicable Me and Jumanji. Ken Spillman, author of Big Noah Little Boa and bestselling children’s book, will also speak at the SCRF. A successful mentor and presenter of workshops on writing and creativity for adults and teens, Spillman 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 best-selling time-travelling adventure story, Kid: A History of the Future.

Vashti Harrison, the No. 1 New York Times-bestselling author-illustrator of children’s books from the US, will also be at SCRF this year. Her middle-grade books Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, Little Legends is a best-seller. She is also a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children.

Claire Legrand, the New York Times bestselling 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.

Indian authors of children’s books at SCRF are journalist Purva Grover, best known for The Trees Told Me So; best-selling 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.

From the African continent, the guest authors are Lorato Mary Trok from South Africa, a creative writing facilitator best known for her Unsung Heroes series; Christopher Okemwa from Kenya who wrote Sabina the Rain Girl among others.

Among the UK-based authors who will be participating in SCRF are Ella Berthoud, author of The Art of Mindful Reading, Helen Docherty, author of The Screen Thief, Bangladesh-born Burhana Islam, author of Mayhem Mission, Russia-born Evgenia Golubeva, an award-winning animation director and illustrator, Radiya Hafiza, author of Rumaysa, and Yasmin Rahman, author of This is my Truth for young adults.