Book re­leased on children’s favourite places in Oman

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

Dar al Atta’a launched the book My Favourite Place in Oman re­cently. The book is a col­lec­tion of es­says writ­ten by children in the age group of 8 to 18 years on their favourite place in Oman.

The es­says were in­vited as part of a com­pe­ti­tion by Dar al Atta’a’s Let’s Read ini­tia­tive. The pro­gramme re­ceived more than 600 en­tries from 29 schools across the coun­try. Six­teen judges spent weeks read­ing, con­fer­ring and as­sess­ing the es­says.

“The children gave di­rec­tions to dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions and de­scribed Oman’s glo­ri­ous coast­lines and beaches. They wrote about dol­phin watch­ing and ocean ad­ven­tures. Oth­ers de­scribed ex­cit­ing vis­its to the tur­tle nest­ing sites, and hikes to lush wadis and palm groves. Some had slept un­der star-filled skies in the desert and en­joyed camel rid­ing and sand surf­ing.

“There were en­tries about spir­i­tual vis­its to peace­ful mosques. Oth­ers wrote about amuse­ment parks, in­ter­est­ing mu­se­ums and musical en­ter­tain­ment in the mag­nif­i­cent Royal Opera House Mus­cat. It was touch­ing to read en­tries from children who had writ­ten with great pride about their home­towns,” said Jane Jaf­fer, chair­per­son, Let’s Read pro­gramme.”

She added, “The judges were im­pressed by vivid descriptio­ns of colour­ful, frank­in­cense filled souqs, his­tor­i­cal de­tails about an­cient forts and re­lax­ing fun days spent at hots springs, sink­holes and gorges. They were de­lighted to read of the fan­tas­tic ac­tiv­i­ties the children pur­sued in the cool moun­tain­ous re­gions of Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams.”

Rad­hieka Peeris Yapa, one of the judges com­mented on the ex­pe­ri­ence of as­sess­ing the en­tries say­ing, “The stan­dard of the writ­ing and con­structed nar­ra­tives was not only heart­en­ing to be­hold but posed a dif­fi­cult task (for the judges) to nar­row down the few sto­ries you are about to bring to life. Each was a unique voice writ­ten in beau­ti­ful prose, while all could eas­ily have been in­cluded in this com­pi­la­tion, the sto­ries here are the ones that showed the best pre­sen­ta­tion and helps high­light the cre­ative tal­ent present in Oman to­day.

“It was a plea­sure to read these en­tries with many des­ti­na­tions be­ing off the beaten track. This added a depth and a per­me­able en­try point to unique per­spec­tives into the way children re­late to and con­nect to their sur­round­ings.”

Jane also thanked the judges who short­listed the es­says for the book.

“We thank the many judges who gave up their time to read hun­dreds of en­tries: Nalini Subra­ma­nian, Rithu Me­hta, He­bah Bas­sam, Ma­jda Said al Hi­nai, Maythaa Khal­fan al Mad­hari, Ali­son John­ston al Maskari, Shailaja Pad­man­ab­han, Karen MacFar­lane, Ruchi Ge­orge, Ratna Chan­drsekhar, Rad­hieka, Kim Res­tucci, Sand­hya Me­hta, Mar­garet Macki and Cathy al De­lamie.”

The book also fea­tures works of some artists and pho­tog­ra­phers such as Anna Dud­chenko, Ra­jesh Venkiteswa­ran, Karen MacFar­lane and Yas al De­lamie,

“I am grate­ful to the Min­istry of Tourism for check­ing the con­tent and pro­vid­ing us with beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphs and to Anne Malin for pro­vid­ing us with the de­tailed map of Oman. The book high­lights many won­der­ful places in Oman and en­cour­ages children to read about them and, hope­fully, visit them too,” said Jane.

With such an­nual essay writ­ing com­pe­ti­tions, Let’s Read en­cour­ages children to not only be cre­ative sto­ry­tellers but also to re­flect on their own ex­pe­ri­ences and help oth­ers to see the world in new ways.

All pro­ceeds of sales from the book will go to­wards Mak­ta­bati, Oman’s first mo­bile li­brary.

(Mus­cat Daily)

Jane Jaf­fer (cen­tre) at the launch of the book

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