A symposium on “Writing for Children: How to Contribute to the Bridging of the Gap between the Child and the Book” was held at Doha International Book Fair. It highlighted the status of the State Prize for Children’s Literature and its role in promoting writing and enriching the Arab literary library. The symposium was moderated by Dr. Abdullah Faraj Al-Marzouqi, media expert, professor and writer, in the presence of Ms. Maryam Yassin Al-Hammadi, Director of Culture and Arts Department and Vice Chairman of the Trustees Committee of the State Prize for Children’s Literature, Ms. Asma Al-Kuwari, Director of the Children’s Literature Center and member of the Trustees Committee of the State Prize for Children’s Literature, Dr. Fatima Al-Lawati, an Omani writer and researcher, and Dr. Murad Mabrouk, professor of Arabic at Qatar University and member of the Trustees Committee of the State Prize for Children’s Literature.

Al-Hammadi said: “Writing for children poses a great challenge for many writers and authors, as it is a kind of writing whose special pattern differs from that of other literary forms.” She pointed out that “in light of what we are witnessing in terms of digital revolution that has increased the isolation of the child from the book, it has become imperative for us to take serious steps to bridge the gap between the child and the book.” She explained that the “Children’s Literature Award, launched by the State of Qatar in order to promote the creative work of our children, is unique.”

In turn, Al-Kuwari said: “Launched in 2005, the award has been concerned, since its first round in 2008, with the spreading of our culture and identity and showing concern for the Arabic language, as well as raising of the value of the children’s literature product.” She pointed out that the award is not only concerned with the readable book, as children’s literature also comprises poetry, prose, drama and other studies.

Dr. Al-Lawati said: “Arabic children’s literature, despite its abundance, is merely a product that fills the need and has not been presented in an appropriate manner that would prompt the Arab child to read and benefit from it.

Dr. Mabrouk affirmed that the State Prize for Children’s Literature is the first Arab award to have this quantitative and qualitative value, for it is like a tree which is deeply rooted in the land of Qatar with lush leaves shading all Arab countries.