Sharjah ( Press Release )
Poetry is often considered to be a form of literary expression that can inspire and empower young people.
Taking the stage to discuss how poetry is essential for children at the 11th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, at a session titled ‘Poetry and Young Minds’, were three literary stalwarts, Mohammed Abdullah Ammar, Jeffery Boston Weatherford and Hafiz Mahfuz.
Laying down certain criteria while writing for children was Mohammed Abdullah Ammar, President of ‘Naiman Club’ for children’s song and stories. He says, “writers need to have a wide knowledge on different things. They also need to have a good understanding of child’s psychology. Adults should encourage children to unleash their energy and creativity through poetry. We should also be sensitive during the developmental process. We should encourage them and not criticise them for their mistakes. Additionally, when we are writing for children, we should be careful about the selection of words and sounds”.
Throwing light on poetry while being raised in the US and its prevalence there, was the next speaker of the evening, Jeffery Boston Weatherford, a multi-talented children’s book illustrator. He is also the founder of the global hip-hop collective tribe world-wide. He debuted as a writer, with the book ‘You Can Fly’. Sharing his childhood memories of how his mother narrated poems to him is every night, Jeffery says, “poetry is intimately intertwined in the US culture. Poetry is music to the ears. Children relate to the sounds, rhyme and music. Poetry is the quickest vehicle of expression. Poetry is painting through words”. Reiterating the importance of poetry, he further says, “it is a song without music. Therefore, it engages children very well. Children love engagement, it’s a different side of learning”.
“While children have shorter attention spans”, he further goes onto explaining the relationship between hip-hop and poetry. He says, “hip-hop can’t exist without poetry. Poetry and hip-hop is therapeutic and divine”.
Sharing the same podium was Hafiz Mahfuz a professor, novelist and poet from Tunisia. In his opinion, all songs are poetry and are fueled with emotional charge. That’s also the reason why they connect with the audiences, particularly children. Calling it a “sublime form of art”, he says, “Poetry is the call of the soul, its magic with arts and children often immediately connect to poems. Poetry helps in language development, creativity, self-expression and enhances natural rhythms”.
Poetry is the perfect genre for introducing creative and interesting vocabulary to children, was the concurring thought with which the evening concluded.
SCRF is a cultural celebration attracting not only children but extending the joy of learning to parents and adults in a family-friendly atmosphere. SCRF encourages learning and self-education from a young age, helping raise a generation of leaders, scholars and professionals who will contribute to the development of their society.