I want to sincerely thank my new friends in Dubai who share a great passion for books.

I had the chance of a lifetime to discover the beautiful emirate of Sharjah, which overlooks the Persian Gulf. This region has an impressive array of cultural and traditional projects, elegant mosques, fascinating souks [markets] and many outstanding museums. I was invited by the gracious Bodour Alqasimi, the daughter of the Emir to visit and give a workshop for children. Her incredible renovation of the Casbah area includes restaurants, offices, galleries and a cultural center where the workshop was held.

What a thrill it was to see Book Fiesta translated into Arabic by my good friends at Kalimat Publishing. I discovered friendly, worldly people and had a magnificent time exploring the city with Omar, Amani and Tamer. In 1998 Sharjah was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for being the cultural capital of the Arab world. My appreciation goes out to Marwa for organizing the trip and especially to the inquisitive, energetic and talented children I met in the workshop. I wanted to share some of my photos including the library bus that goes out to the far reaches of the region bringing books to children. The Emirate of Sharjah is also known to be the Cultural Capital of the UAE. The Expo Centre Sharjah is well known for the annual book fair that is famous all over the region. The Emir personally takes keen interest in this event which brings together hundreds of publishers from all over the world and thousands of titles. I look forward to working with my new friends in the future to promote literacy and Arab literature for children.