Sharjah: While she was searching for Arabic books for her little daughter, Shaikha Bodour Al Qasimi realised a grave truth - quality books in the language were hardly available.

Kalimat - which means words in Arabic - and of which Shaikha Bodour is the founder-director, was therefore established to inculcate a love for reading Arabic in young children.

According to the publishing house, which is the first such company in the UAE exclusively catering to publishing children's books in Arabic, there is no way to develop and take your country, your culture, and your identity forward without knowing and being proud of your mother tongue. It also believes that your language says everything about you as a person and allows you to express your culture, it says.

The conception of the publishing house began three years ago. However, the actual work started less than a year ago, and was officially launched its first 25 titles on October 30 at the Sharjah Book Fair.

Undoubtedly, learning other languages is advantageous although it is important to protect the Arabic language. The publishing house was therefore established to enhance knowledge of Arabic in children.

Dareen Charafeddine, Editor of Kalimat, said: "Kalimat is a publishing house dedicated to publishing and distributing the highest-quality children's books in Arabic. We address issues and cover themes that Arabic-speaking children from different nationalities can relate to. Kalimat's objective is to make reading enjoyable by tapping into the imagination of young children. The goal is to ultimately instill a life-long love of reading in little ones."

"Having said that, we believe producing books of high quality is not enough to preserve the Arabic language. We require support from different partners in the community [such as parents, schools and bookstores] to encourage Arab children to speak, read and write Arabic," said Dareen.

Kalimat publications can be found at various leading book stores, the Sharjah Museum and the Sharjah Ladies Club.