Bodour Al Qasimi and others at a storytelling session to strengthen cultural relations between the UAE and Mexico. Image Credit: Supplied

Guadalajara: The UAE’s Kalimat Group showcased three storybook titles and held a storytelling session to strengthen cultural relations between the UAE and Mexico during Sharjah’s participation as Guest of Honour at the 36th Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico.

The children’s book, World Book Capital, authored by Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, was translated into Spanish to make it accessible to the Latin American population. It was accompanied by the two Spanish children’s titles ‘ridu, Friducha, Frida: A day with the family, and Why does Fernando not want to grow up? which were translated into Arabic.

World Book Capital

During this storytelling session organised to mark the launch of the Spanish edition of ‘World Book Capital’, Bodour Al Qasimi read to a group of people in English, which is an additional translation of the title, originally released in both English and Arabic by the Kalimat Group. This was followed by a reading of the newly launched Spanish edition by Ricardo Sánchez Riancho who was also the publisher of the Spanish translation.

In an engaging session, the audience were introduced to the UNESCO initiative of the World Book Capital which coincides with Guadalajara holding the title for 2022. As this initiative is the premise for the book’s storyline, beautifully illustrated by artist Denise Damanti, it aims to highlight the cultural value of recognising cities for promoting books and fostering reading and being awarded UNESCO’s title. Sharjah was the recipient of World Book Capital in 2019.

Fridu, Friducha, Frida: A day with the family

In the storytelling session for the title Fridu, Friducha, Frida: A day with the family, about the adventures of a young Mexican girl, Bodour Al Qasimi wore a crown of roses to pay homage to Frida Kahlo, who the book is about, and narrated the Arabic version of the title. Following this, the author of the book Ricardo Sánchez Riancho read the story in the original Spanish version.

Illustrated by Carlos Velez and translated into Arabic by Samar Mahfooz Baraj, Frida, Friducha, Frida: A day with the family, was inspired by the early life of Frida Kahlo who was one of the world’s most influential Mexican artists and made great head-way to deal with the topic of identity. Friducha, featured in the title of the book, was a nickname given to Kahlo by her artist husband, Diego Rivera.

Why does Fernando not want to grow up?

Kalimat also celebrated the launch of the Arabic version of Why does Fernando not want to grow up? and was attended by Bodour Al Qasimi. Kalimat’s newly published version of the children’s book carries important messages that shed light on people with special needs, especially individuals on the autism spectrum; it also highlights the importance of enabling them to enjoy their full rights as valuable members of the community.

The story, translated from Spanish to Arabic by translator and author Amal Naser and illustrated by Henri Torralbi, helps people to learn how to interact better with a child on the autism spectrum, to enhance the child’s talking skills as well as their attention span to help them forge better communication skills with the general community.