The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre at the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) has now been opened to children of all ages. From Wednesday 26 May, children accompanied by family members will be able to browse the wide selection of book titles and attend the creative and educational activities taking place at the fair’s 30th edition, which is currently running until 29 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The decision to allow access to children follows the successful implementation of the fair’s health and safety precautionary measures, which have been imposed by management to ensure the safety of all visitors, exhibitors, participants and staff. The new procedures to include children state that at least one adult must accompany every two children to ensure their safety at the event. The decision also allows the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to fulfil its commitment to include all segments of society in this flagship cultural event, and aligns with its objectives to instil a passion for reading and cultural engagement in young people.  

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “Children are our future leaders, thinkers, and innovators, and it is crucial that from a young age we introduce them to creativity and the wonders of the written word. Cultural engagement fires up the imagination, opens young minds to concepts such as tolerance and understanding, and creates more well-rounded, empathetic societies.

“Excluding children from attending the fair was a decision we initially made to protect our vulnerable young people, in light of current circumstances, but after witnessing the effectiveness of our precautionary measures we are now fully confident that the event is 100% safe for visitors of all age groups. We hope that parents can accompany their children to the Fair, where they will enjoy a dynamic schedule of creative art workshops, interactive reading events and engaging live performances.”

Mouza Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre and Director of ADIBF, said: “We are incredibly pleased with the success of the precautionary measures implemented at the fair, and proud of the level of commitment we have witnessed from visitors, exhibitors and all participants regarding their wellbeing and that of others. We are confident in the safety of this event for all visitors, and are delighted to now open the fair’s doors to children, one of our most important and valued audiences. We are certain that young ones of all ages will enjoy the exciting activities that await them at the event.”

ADIBF will be welcoming children to a fascinating world of knowledge and entertainment, where they can browse through books, attend reading and storytelling sessions, and much more. Little ones can look forward to a day full of exciting events on Thursday 27 May, as the main stage in Hall 10 will feature a number of shows presented by the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library at 9am and 4pm, in addition to a reading session at 1pm. Stage 2 will host reading sessions, mixed performances and programmes presented by the Abu Dhabi Children's Library at 9am and 2:30pm, before the Early Starters store concludes the day’s activities with a yoga ‘read-along’ session entitled ‘You are a Lion’.

On Friday 28 May, the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library will present dance shows featuring Marvel superhero characters on the main stage at 5pm and 6:30pm, in addition to a third performance by a dance workshop on the Stage 2 at 5pm. Dar Al-Bitar Publishing will present an interactive workshop for children on Stage 2 at 7pm and the library will also host a reading session at 8:30pm, followed by a story writing workshop and an interesting physics presentation.

On Saturday 29 May, the main stage will be hosting a reading session of Ad-Dar stories presented by Dar Al-Hudhud at 9am, while the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library will present a final dance performance of Marvel superhero characters at 11:30am. Children will have the chance to participate in an interactive ‘sing-along’ book reading session for the story The Others Were Missing.

Early Starters will present three reading sessions from 1pm to 6:30pm, during which children will listen the stories Sultan Saves, How to Spot an Artist and The Little Camel. They will also be able to participate in workshops where they will learn how to make rainbow salt jars and camel puppets. Dar Al-Bitar will take to Stage 2 to present reading sessions and workshops for parents and teachers from 11am to 2:30pm.

Organised by DCT Abu Dhabi and managed by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, this year's edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 23 - 29 May, is welcoming more than 800 exhibitors from 46 countries for a ‘hybrid’ programme comprised of a variety of virtual events, as well as events and activities held on the ground amid precautionary measures that will ensure a safe and enjoyable cultural experience for visitors.

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair’s doors are open to visitors of all ages provided a they present a negative result from a PCR test conducted in the previous 48 hours. The fair is offering free PCR tests to visitors aged 12 years and above, across all Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) testing centres within the emirate of Abu Dhabi, upon presenting their fair entry pass. Children below 12 will be permitted to enter the fair with one guardian to every two children.  

The event will continue to observe and impose a set of comprehensive precautionary measures such as checking temperatures at the entrances, social distancing, and limiting visitor numbers inside the exhibition halls and exhibitor pavilions.

Visitors must register in advance to obtain an electronic access card, either through the website or the smartphone application of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.