By Solomon Nda-Isaiah
…Kalimat Launches 30 books at the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair
Kalimat enriched the celebration of literature at the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair by launching a collection of new titles for children. Featuring an array of topics covering philanthropy, family issues and adventure, the books have been written in a simple yet engaging style to attract young readers.
Six of the titles from the 30 in the collection include:
Sidra Honey (Assal Al Sudra)
Author: Dr. Reem Al Gurg
Illustration: Laya Kareera
Sidra Honey is a story that calls for the preserving of customs and traditions. Forming part of Emirati culture, the Sidr tree exemplifies Emirati heritage. Through this title the author seeks to foster a love of heritage in young readers in a simple and appealing way, through linking the Sidr tree with beautiful, unforgettable memories and experiences.
People of Lead (Ashkas Min Rasas)
Author: Moumen Helmi
Illustrations: Rosaria Lorio
People of Lead is a book about a boy who lives in his own world, disconnected from others, who cannot find answers to his endless questions. One day, he finds himself stuck in a weird crack in which all the forgotten things fall. The only way to get out is to engage positively with others. The story aims to stimulate children to interact with others, establish strong social relationships and not to become isolated from the community.
Where’s My Voice? (Ayna Sawti)
Author: Sahar Naja Mahfoudh
Illustration: Avelinlin Avelin
Where’s My Voice? is a story about a shy girl who looks for her voice among the things that surround her. A book that attracts children because of its magic-like fantasy subject matter, the narrative has been designed to stir their imagination and make them wonder if what she did is possible.
The Sound of the Sea (Sawt Al Baher)
Author: Rania Zabeeb Dhaher
Illustration: Debora Guidi
The Sound of the Sea introduces children to the serious issues of forced displacement, war, crises and their far-reaching effects on people. The story is about Leen and her joyful singing for which the source is the sea and its waves. The beauty of her voice spreads happiness in her home town. One day the sea waves become sad and Leen loses her beautiful voice, compelling her and her friend Arwa to find out what has happened. The book’s message underscores that we need to join hands to bring happiness to children worldwide.
Where Does the Sky End? (Ayna Tantahi Al Sama)
Author: Jikar Khorshid
Illustrations: Alessandra Santelli
Where Does the Sky End? is a story about a boy who is always questioning and researching the end of the sky. He meets the whale, the eagle, the lion and the camel and learns where their skies end. While he is searching for the end of his sky, he realises that it is, in fact, limitless.
Can you see? (Atara?)
Author: Rama Qanawati
Illustration: Fadi Fadhel
Can you see? describes the ugliness of war. It tells the story of Zaid and his family who flee bombing and war, leaving everything behind except his toy bear, Dabdoub. Although they are extremely sad, they hope that one day the war will end and they will get back to their home; with their hope being a force for life.
Speaking about their respective works, a number of authors from the collection discussed their collaboration with Kalimat,
Author Rania Zabeeb Dhaher said: “The Sound of the Sea describes a segment of the unfortunate events that are taking place in the Arab world and the plight of the refugee children who are crossing the sea trying to find a better place and a brighter life. The hero of the story, Leen, is a real girl, one of the children who is undergoing this ordeal. Through this book I have tried to describe reality, to find bright and positive moments that enhance hope in spite of this sorrow. I was delighted to collaborate with Kalimat as the publisher of my first book. They are like my second home because they have supported my desire to publish it in a beautiful way that attracts readers.”
Moumen Helmi said: “Through People of Lead, I am aiming to educate children on the importance of positive interaction with their surrounding environment and with people. I have tried to do this through a host of simple and expressive visual scenes that reach the hearts of readers. The objective is to encourage children to read and to foster it as a noble habit that nurtures young minds and stimulates them to fulfil their dreams.”
For her part, Sahar Naja Mahfoudh, said: “Kalimat publishing is my key that gave me access to the world of children’s books. Whenever a good idea comes to my mind, I write it down and present it to Kalimat because I trust them to give me the right advice. Where’s My Voice describes a shy girl and how she was encouraged to express herself without hesitation or fear. The integration of the text and the illustrations was outstanding and has definitely pulled in readers.”