By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT: Feb 26 - The Muscat International Book Fair has been a major attraction for children of all ages. From books for youngest readers to teenagers, besides academic publications, the variety has been a delight for shoppers. Shamsa, Sheikha and Fatma, all sisters, accompanied by their father, were shopping for a while when Observer spotted them. With a bag full, the trio was exploring more. Shamsa said, “We are now looking for novels.” Ask them about their favourite types of books, the answer is unanimous, “Horror!”
They were at a stall with a lot of English titles on mysteries. Indeed, the publishers know their market because they have a wide selection.
Mohammed al Shukairy, a regular to the book fair for many years, said, “This year, the fair is exceptionally beautiful. Oman Convention and Exhibition has an exceptional ambience. There are more books on a variety of subjects this year.”
On what kind of books he likes, he says, “It is different. At times, I buy books on research, and other times, it is pure fiction.”
How does he encourage the reading habit in his children? “Reading has become a part of life. Book fair is a tradition. All children have a reading corner in their rooms with a shelf showcasing their collection.”
So books are for keeps for this family. The Ministry of Education’s Kids’ Corner is another major attraction for children and one of the most popular features is virtual reality.
Children patiently stand in a row to experience this reality: touching the characters on screen — from animals to dinosaurs to the famous character ET. This is where the children get to experience the wonders of 3D printing. They wait for the printer to launch the project it has been making. To their delight once the machine cooled itself, out came a white heart made of plastic-like material — ready to be a charm on the keychain.