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Children’s Books by Local Authors



When you think of Doha, books probably aren’t the first thing on your mind, but did you know that Qatar has a number of local children’s book authors? Although these writers are incredibly diverse in nationality, culture, tradition and background, they have one solid commonality—their love of the written word and a desire to promote the magical world of literacy. And luckily for us, Qatar happens to be their inspirational link.

Whether you want to build your own library or pick up a unique gift, check out these nine children’s book authors inspired by their lives in Qatar and the Gulf.

Sela Blue and the First Day of School

Author: Alisia Dale
Illustrator: Sheree Evalina
Languages: English
Available at selablue.com, amazon.com

Sela’s story revolves around the adventures of a young girl who thrives in a happy and harmonious home and whose youth is not encumbered by the use of much technology. Author Alisia Dale was inspired by her spirited, fun-filled days growing up in gorgeous, Québec—without electronics—as well as the simplicity of life in Doha and the emphasis on family in Qatari culture. Dale wanted to memorialise her childhood and show her children that it was possible to have an amazing youth “in the olden days.” In addition to being gorgeously illustrated and whimsically presented, Sela lives in a world of music, with beautiful rhyming prose, to inspire children that music can change your life in the most positive of ways.

Everyday Wishes

Author: Hana Rogers (Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar)
Illustrator: Alicia Arlandis
Languages: English, Arabic, Spanish
Available at amazon.com

Everyday Wishes is a story about MJ, a little boy who wishes to be a big kid but realises in the end, that being appreciative of his family is an even better gift. The book’s message is a simple one of gratefulness, aimed at little children. The story is filled with bright colours and vibrant drawings to attract little eyes.

The next book in Rajakumar’s series is aimed at increasing awareness about the risks of too much “tablet time.” Readers will experience MJ’s tribulations when his face magically turns into a screen.

Hamda and Fisaikra

Author: Kaltham Al-Ghanim
Illustrator: May Al-Mannai
Translator: Andy Smart
Languages: English, Arabic
Available at Jarir Bookstores and amazon.com

Qatari-born professor at Qatar University and first-time children’s book author, Kaltham Al-Ghamin has created a masterpiece of a simple story—a local spin on the fairytale, Cinderella. Boldly illustrated with gold, silver and turquoise, Hamda and Fisaikra is a heartfelt, magical tale of a young girl, her family and simple wishes, along with a dash of magical hope. Al-Ghamin’s motivation to write this book was her love and appreciation for her Arab heritage, culture and folklore. She transforms popular children’s stories into relatable tales for people to learn about cooperation, tolerance, caring, loyalty and harmony for humankind. Al-Ghamin is currently working on her next children’s book in which she intends to continue passing down Arab folklore and heritage to the next generation.

Mah and Me

Author/Illustrator: Ibtihaj Al Harthi 
Languages: English, Arabic
Available at Jarir Bookstores and amazon.co.uk

Born and raised in the Gulf, Al Harthi took the traumatic event of losing a dear family member and turned it into a compelling children’s book, in the hopes of explaining loss and grief to her son. The main character, Azzan, sadly loses his grandmother, and this his account of understanding sadness and loss. Al Harthi wanted to create a “safe-zone” for children to be able to talk to their parents and families about sadness. She hopes this book will be a catalyst for helping young ones deal with these strong emotions.

Sleeping Handsome and the Princess Engineer

Author: Kay Woodward
Illustrator: Jo De Ruiter 
Available at amazon.com.uk

Sleeping Handsome and the Princess Engineer is a humorous new version of Sleeping Beauty that features a skyline charmingly based on Doha, as well as a not-so-ordinary princess heroine. The author, Kay Woodward, also writes non-fiction as Kay Barnham. Woodward is well-known for using humour in her fictional writing and is an active proponent of children’s literacy.

 

 

Manal’s World

Author: Muneera Saad Al Rumaihi
Illustrator: Gulnar Hajo
Translator: Yasmine Motawy
Languages: English, Arabic
Available at Jarir Bookstores

Qatari-author Muneera Saad Al Rumaihi and Syrian-born illustrator Gulnar Hajo have created a gorgeously lyrical story in Manal’s World. This is the story of a strong little girl, despite having physical disabilities, who helps a lonely pal and the friendship that blossoms between the two. It is a positive spin on generosity and kindness between children. Al Rumaihi debuted her book celebrating UNESCO’s World Book Day in April of 2016. Both Al Rumaihi and Hajo regularly engage in events and activities that encourage literacy for children, particularly for refugees.

Abu Daryah

Author: Mohamed Ali
Illustrator: Mohamed Ali
Languages: Arabic
Available at Jarir Bookstores

Mohamed Ali is a local Gulf writer who has created a thoughtful children’s story combining historical fact and folklore. Abu Daryah is the result of a collaboration between the Qatar Museum Authority and Ali to develop a story to help younger generations understand the harrows and riches of pearl diving in the Gulf. The book revolves around a pearl diver who battles a powerful magic sea creature. It is a classic story of good versus evil and how determination and optimism win in the end.

Sam and the Golden Camel

Author: Jo Demmer
Illustrator: Whitney Van Nuis
Languages: English
Available at jodemmer.com

Incorporating the stunning Qatari desert, plus a personal experience getting stuck in the sand dunes, Jo Demmer has created an exciting, colourful, feel-good story in Sam and the Golden Camel. This book will mesmerise children and adults with a tale that promotes learning about different cultures, nature and kindness.

Keep an eye out for the second book in Demmer’s series, Sue and the Rainbow Dolphin. Although Demmer no longer lives in Qatar, she and illustrator Van Nuis intend to continue writing more books in this dazzling children’s series of magical adventures around the globe.

Qitt the Sand Cat

Author/Illustrator: Joanne Brooker
Languages: English
Available at joannebrookerbooks.com

Upon arriving in Qatar, author and illustrator Joanne Brooker was fascinated by the surprising abundance of wildlife in the desert. Qitt the Sand Cat introduces readers to the magical creatures that survive in the harshest of environments. The desert is not a dead zone, but rather a valuable environment delicately balanced for the survival of some truly unique and endangered flora and fauna.

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