Sharjah: Among the 1.5 million titles at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) are stories written by young children in the UAE who have published their first works.
What started as a school project has turned into a maiden book for a 13-year old Emirati student, who recently launched his collection of short stories at the 41st SIBF at Expo Centre Sharjah. The free-to-attend fair being is held under the slogan ‘Spread the Word’ till November 13.
Abdulla Almarzooqi, a student at Raha International School in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News his book titled ‘The Teeny Tiny Adventures’ was originally part of his English class. “For 30 days, we were told to write short stories. I finished more than 10 stories in just three days. Then I showed my stories to my parents,” he said.
“My mother said – initially in jest – that she would publish my book. But she was really impressed by my work and she decided to look for a publishing house and distributor,” added Abdulla.
Medad Publishing and Distribution published Almarzooqi’s short stories, which turned into a 100-page pocketbook. The book cover was illustrated by Abdulla himself and he also drew caricatures that were used in every other page of the book.
Abdulla was ecstatic when his book came out. He said: “My short fiction stories are for children to read and enjoy. The book is meant to teach them things that they can do in life and learn some lessons as well. Each story is short and nice to read during the day or night. They can relate with the characters as well.”
In his book, the young author narrates everyday events through the eyes of young children with characters such as Andrew the Ant, Timmy the Trash Bin, Jason the Jam, Daniel the Drone, Peter the Plant, Patrick the Pipe, Watson the Blue Whale, Fred and the Big Farm, Garry the Grey Cloud, Karl the Kayak, Tom and the Trampoline, Derrick the Fire Dragon, and Terry the Tiger.
As for his inspiration and favourite author, Abdulla picked David Walliams, an English comedian, actor and writer who has influenced his outlook in life. He said Walliams is always entertaining to read – and this is what he hoped to also accomplish with his book.
Abdulla said he is planning to do a sequel for his maiden book. His mother Noora is likewise hoping Abdulla will continue writing. Noora’s advice to her son is to continue to read more and learn more. “If he reads a lot, then he can write more,” she said.
‘My Beautiful World’
Meanwhile Aadya Gupta, a seven-year-old Indian student in Dubai, has penned her book titled ‘My Beautiful World’. The young author resides in Dubai with her parents, elder brother and her pet dog Athena. Aadya loves music, art and playing with Athena.
Her book is a collection of short stories on her life in Dubai. The Grade 3 student of GEMS Founders School was even recently awarded ‘Outstanding Student’ from the school principal for her achievement at publishing her own book.
Speaking to Gulf News, her father Dr Priyank Gupta, a radiologist, said the inspiration behind his daughter’s book was the COVID-19 pandemic. “After a crazy, pandemic-fuelled year, Aadya found that she had so much to say. That is how the book came to be a collection of tales straight from a child’s innocent and beautiful mind. There are tales of laughter, love and limitless fun in the book.”
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Her mother Dr Anjini Gupta, an ophthalmologist, said: “Writing a book is sometimes the easiest part - but getting it to the masses is harder. Finding a suitable publisher was a challenge, especially since this was Little Aadya’s first writing venture. But her school came to the rescue and connected her to a wonderful team of editors and publishers. We are so grateful that her book is featured at the Sharjah Book International Fair. We have been receiving a great feedback from friends and visitors to the fair.”
The family, hailing from New Delhi, have been supportive of Aadya’s interest in writing. “For a young child of seven, she writes really well. Writing is her favourite expression. Her older brother Atharva is into sports and not so much into writing. But Aadhya since she was small has shown great interest to write. We as parents want to encourage this and that is why we decided to publish this book,” said Dr Priyank.
“We will encourage her to let her imagination run wild. She is already jotting down ideas for a new book based on her experiences and dreams. She has her own pink diary when she pens her thoughts.”