Sharjah: Among all the young authors who released their books at the Sharjah International Book Fair, a 12-year-old has stood out for being a homeschooled child to have published is first novel series.
Indian expat Tazeen Swabri’s ‘GOD of Dragons - The Beginning’ is the first among a seven-series fantasy novel. The young writer has debuted with the 300-pager containing 49,000 words and is already writing its second part.
Tazeen has won accolades for his writing style, in which he used dragons and dinosaurs as the characters of the novel to reflect his views of life.
Although the name and plot seem to be of the genre for children, the depiction is akin to that of a historical drama that makes the reader forget the age factor of the author who has incorporated diverse display of elements of education, politics, family, equality, emotions, friendship, war and peaceful coexistence.
Speaking to Gulf News, Tazeen said it took him only eight months to complete the book.
“I have my own opinion about wars and peace and world affairs and I felt it was better to portray my characters as dragons and dinosaurs,” he said.
Land of ‘Panzhuana’
Tazeen’s novel is set in the fictional land of ‘Panzhuana’ and revolves around the dragon siblings Mark and Pearl and their mother Helen getting into danger by entering the territories of a different clan of dragons.
Published by Al Rewaya, the book is available at all major bookstores and online platforms and Tazeen has already got invitations to participate in some international book fairs.
The book will be translated into Arabic and Chinese by March 2023, said his father Swabri Abdul Khader Khasim, who runs an advertising company.
Asked if Tazeen’s writing has been influenced by his parents, Swabri said: “We don’t have such a good command of English language. We had to seek the help of a professor to edit his book. But I have helped him do the illustration for the book and his [Tazeen’s] cousin Shayan Shareef, who is 13, has illustrated the map of the imaginary continent based on Tazeen’s description.”
He said both his sons gained mastery over different languages and subjects by themselves. “We have only helped them get started and provided all the devices and guidelines. Tazeen had gone to an English tutor for only for a couple of months when he was five.”
Tazeen said he is an avid reader interested in languages, geography, history, aviation and astronomy. He loves to sing and play piano also.
“Being homeschooled has helped us [him and his brother] benefit from the flexibility and freedom to create our own curriculum and schedule,” he said.
Job at 15
His elder brother Naji Swabri, 15, is currently completing his examinations for the Secondary Certification of National Institute of Open Schooling, which is under the government of India.
He is a self-learner like his younger brother and has many talents such as 3D modelling, game development and animation. He is also passionate about aviation, space and rocket science and loves dancing and acting.
Naji, who created the animation video trailer for Tazeen’s book launch and compered the ceremony when the previously assigned professional couldn’t make it, said he feels privileged that he has got a job offer from a car manufacturing company in Dubai.
“I have been offered the job in their creative department. I have been told to join once I finish my exams this month. We are thankful to the UAE for allowing part time jobs for those above 15,” he said.
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‘Pilots at home’
The homeschooled brothers have been volunteering with the Dubai Astronomy Group and have learnt to operate single engine flight cockpit by watching videos and using simulators at home.
A YouTube video posted by the siblings in January 2021 shows how ‘pilot’ Tazeen, assisted by his ‘co-pilot’ Naji, flew a Cessna Skyhawk G1000 aircraft simulator.
Swabri - who is a screenwriter and director of Indian feature film ‘De Nova - The Road Less Trodden’, released in 2009 - said Naji wants to follow in his footsteps in the film industry while Tazeen wishes to be an airport terminal manager. “He doesn’t like maths that much. Otherwise, he would have wanted to become a pilot,” he added.
Their mother Jubairiya A. Khader, who works in the accounting field, said her sons are learning “almost everything” through the internet. “When schools began online classes during COVID-19, we had enrolled them at an Indian curriculum school in Dubai as we thought they might enjoy attending school while sitting at home. They excelled in everything and were toppers in their classes for three months. But they were not happy with the school education system and homework. So they dropped out,” she said.