AN AUTHOR from North Yorkshire has been invited to speak at an international reading festival next year.

Christina Gabbitas, from Selby, writes rhyming books for children which explore themes which may affect them, but are not usually addressed in books for young children.

Following a string of nominations in British literary competitions in 2014, Christina has been asked to appear at the Sharjah Children's Literary Festival in the United Arab Emirates in April.

Christina said: "It’s wonderful to receive an invitation to help encourage children reading and writing.

"I visit many schools throughout England, staging poetry workshops and encouraging reading through storytelling, but this my first international invitation. It’s so exciting and I love encouraging children of all abilities to get involved. I’m looking forward to working with children in the UAE and reading their work."

The Sharjah festival is one of the largest reading festivals in the world to encourage children to pick up books, and each year welcomes authors from around the world. In 2014, just ten authors from the UK were invited to take part.

Christina created the Felicity Fly series of books, which are written in rhyme to help dyslexic readers, to help them learn about the world, and this year created Share Some Secrets - one of the first children's books to talk about child sexual abuse in a way that children can understand.

She said she was "very honoured" to be invited to the festival, and said Share Some Secrets had received a warm response both in the UK and in the USA.

To find out more about Christina and her work, go to or