Dubai: A new collection of children’s stories, My Little World, by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was officially launched during the 2021 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature at Dubai Festival City on Friday.
The book launch featured lively readings from the story collection while some lucky children in the audience got their own box sets. Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, read the stories in English while Ahlam Bolooki, director of the 2021 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, read out the stories in Arabic.
Written for children aged between six and nine years, My Little World is a collection of five stories by Sheikh Mohammed based on his childhood experiences. “Blending absorbing storytelling with insightful observations on human relationships, learning and the natural world, His Highness recounts incidents and interactions in his early life that played a key role in shaping his outlook and character. The collection also highlights the vision of Sheikh Mohammed to foster a culture of reading in the region,” a statement from the Government of Dubai Media Office said.
Bolooki earlier said: “The themes of these stories resonate with all children. Vision, courage, dedication and hard work are values that we all want for the next generation, and we know there is no better way to inspire children than through stories.”
Meanwhile, in other sessions on Friday, Swedish writer Thomas Erikson, author of the runaway bestseller Surrounded by Idiots, revealed how to spot a psychopath, and shared his insights into how we act and react depending on our personality type.
Self-confessed ‘romcomisseur” Bolu Babalola shared fantastical mythical love stories from around the world before they were taken over by Western culture while Egyptian writer Walaa Kamal spoke to Max of Arabia about how our online affects our offline world. There was also a session sponsored by Gulf News on ‘Fighting the Anti-Facts Movement’, which featured medical experts Dr Jay Jayamohan, Dr Nafea Alyasi and Dr Rupy Aujla, who dissected conspiracy theories and misinformation.
On the cards on Saturday
The highly-anticipated session by Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will take place on Saturday. The session is already sold out but it will be available via livestream through the Festival digital pass.
Voices of Future Generations, the writing competition for children under the patronage of Unesco, will also take place. There are only few tickets left for the session with renowned author Elif Shafak at 4pm.
Also exciting is the panel session with Oyinkan Braithwaite and Jessica Jarlvi. LitFest favourite Julia Johnson will be sharing the story of The Pearl Diver’s Son, a beautiful tale with an engrossing mystery set in the time of pearl diving. This session is recommended for children age nine and above.