UAEBBY Initiates “Bibliotherapy” Workshops




The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) launched a series of specialized training workshops about bibliotherapy. The initiative which is the first of its kind in the country, targets a group of leading professionals in the field of children's literature in UAE.

These workshops provide a series of theoretical and practical training to habilitate the first proficient team in the field of bibliotherapy in the region.

These workshops are implemented under the umbrella of «Once Upon a Time», an initiative launched by UAEBBY in November, 2015. It aims at providing books of high quality form and content for children with little access to books. “Once upon a Time” has, hereby, initiated the transition from giving support to children through the provision of books, knowledge, and entertainment to providing emotional and psychological support through bibliotherapy.

Participants will be trained during the workshops to provide therapy to children and young people, especially those who suffer emotionally and psychologically from harsh conditions; like social unrest, wars, displacement and/ or asylum.

British writer, Ella Berthoud administrated the first two-day workshop at the Island of Science in Sharjah. Berthoud is a bibliotherapist, has written two books about maintaining mental health through literature, and has co-founded “The School of Life”, a specialized institution which provides emotional intelligence services in London.

The workshop focused on the second day on the benefits of reading out loud and listening to audiobooks. Later, discussion tackled how different texts suit different kinds of emotions; such as love, death, depression and hope. Then the participants practiced what they had learned.

Marwa Al-Aqroubi, Chairwoman of the UAEBBY commented on the event: «Reading has a therapeutic nature. What distinguishes this workshop is that it provides a great opportunity to learn about bibliotherapy. As usual, UAEBBY works to ensure that books have positive impact on the lives of children and young people, particularly those who have suffered trauma. »

She added that the workshop is a unique opportunity to learn the necessary skills to help them and make a real and tangible positive difference in their lives and future. She hopes other participants would be eager to benefit from upcoming workshops in this series, and seize the opportunity to capitalize on what they have learned from the British writer and bibliotherapist, Ella Berthoud.