MUM’S WORD

Muham­mad Yusuf re­ports on a chil­dren’s book that’s fit read­ing for adults too!

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - BUDS & BLOSSOMS - * ARE YOU EM­PLOYED?

“Salam!” says Zay­oodi, pre­sent­ing him­self. “My name is Zay­oodi. I am four years old and I am Emi­rati. Dur­ing my ad­ven­tures I learn about my her­itage and my tra­di­tions. Ex­plore the UAE with me!”

He adds he will cel­e­brate the found­ing of his coun­try but ... “I want to go to the pA­rADE AnD wAvE my lAG But I lost it”, he wails. “Can you HElp mE inD It?”

Of course we will and we do through a Q & A ad­ven­ture where Zay­oodi in­tro­duces us to the na­tional DrEss, tHE nA­tIonAl lAG AnD irE­works Dur­InG NA­tIonAl Day cel­e­bra­tions, among other things. Orig­i­nally from Bel­gium and rais­ing an Emi­rati son in Abu Dhabi, Sil­lis felt her son Zayed wasn’t learn­ing enough about the land in which he lived.

She thought that the nurs­ery where her child went was too fo­cused on Western Books. THErE wAs vEry lIt­tlE be­ing taught about his own coun­try.

She also dis­cov­ered that Zayed re­sponded more to sto­ries she read out to HIm From tHE FEw Books on Emi­rati chil­dren she was able to ac­cess.

She de­cided to do some­thing ABout It. THE rE­sult wAs ‘ZAy­ooDI goes to the pa­rade’ – not a day too soon, sInCE NA­tIonAl DAy Is FAst Ap­proACH­InG. THE Book tElls muCH more than a story – the au­thors in­ter­sperse it with ques­tions, both dur­ing the nar­ra­tive and dur­ing ClosE, to pro­vokE A CHIlD’s Cu­rIos­Ity.

For ex­am­ple, here are two of tHEm: Do you know In wHICH EmI­rAtE you Cur­rEntly lIvE? HAvE you vIs­ItED Any otHEr EmI­rAtE?

THE Con­CEpt oF lEArn­InG through fun has never been so de­light­fully es­tab­lished! Fif­teen pages long, soft to touch (though hard­bound), em­bel­lished with child friendly il­lus­tra­tions, the Book Is A must HAvE For kIDs AnD par­ents.

SIl­lIs tElls TImE Out tHE story oF How tHE Book CAmE to BE

* What is the in­spi­ra­tion BE­HInD tHE Book?

THE sto­rIEs ArE BAsED on A rEAl Emi­rati boy, my son Zayed and his ex­pe­ri­ences and ad­ven­tures as a four-year-old boy.

When he started school, I no­tICED nonE oF tHE Books HE wAs BrInG­InG BACk HomE wErE ac­tu­ally teach­ing him about UAE or his cul­ture. I was then DE­tEr­mInED to inD out IF suCH Books wErE AvAIl­ABlE In EnGlIsH lan­guage.

I DID inD FEw, But tHEy were mainly writ­ten for older CHIl­DrEn. NonE­tHE­lEss, HE En­JoyED look­InG At pIC­turEs and was very much en­gaged and ea­ger to learn more about CHAr­AC­tErs tHAt lookED lIkE HIm.

My busi­ness part­ner, Dina NA­HAs, motHEr oF two, Also FElt the need for her chil­dren to learn more about the coun­try they were grow­ing up in. To­GEtHEr, wE DE­CIDED to ill tHIs knowl­EDGE GAp AnD CrE­AtE Zay­oodi’s Ad­ven­tures!

All prod­ucts from Zay­oodi’s Ad­ven­tures have one clear aim – teach­ing ex­pat chil­dren in early pri­mary school years about the UAE, its tra­di­tions and cul­ture in a fun and in­ter­ac­tive way. We also touch upon some ba­sic Ara­bic vo­cab­u­lary.

THE MIn­Istry oF ED­u­CA­tIon has made it manda­tory now for schools to in­clude UAE’s his­tory, cul­ture and tra­di­tions in their so­cial stud­ies pro­gramme. Our prod­ucts are per­fect to be in­cor­po­rated into this cur­ricu­lum.

We are now on a mis­sion to En­surE tHAt our Book sE­rIEs reaches all classes and li­braries of ev­ery nurs­ery, school and home across the UAE.

* HOW DO YOU MAR­KET IT? WHAT HAS BEEN THE FEED­BACK?

We ap­proach schools di­rectly as we are self pub­lished and wE Do Book rEAD­InG sEs­sIons at nurs­eries and schools. We mAr­kEt our­sElvEs on our vAr­I­ous so­cial me­dia ac­counts. Both schools and par­ents have been pos­I­tIvE ABout tHE Book. Our Book Cur­rEntly sElls At

- Early Starters, Abu Dhabi, 050 282 3689

- Book­worm, DuBAI 04 394 5770

- THE Book­sHop, Al AIn, ABu DHABI, Fu­JAIrAH AnD RAs Al Khaimah 03 755 1500

* HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AN AUTHOR IN THE UAE?

THIs Is our irst Book For both Dina and I; we en­joyed the Jour­nEy tHIs Book HAs tAkEn us so far and we learned a lot as well.

I am a full time mother of tHrEE (All CHIl­DrEn un­DEr ivE years of age).

* WHAT AD­VICE WILL YOU GIVE TO AU­THORS WHO WRITE FOR CHIL­DREN AGE GROUP 4 - 10?

You have to have a pas­sion for writ­ing and have a clear aim as to why you want to write a Book, I.E. wHAt DIF­FEr­En­tI­AtEs

you from other au­thors. Choose top­ICs tHAt kIDs CAn rE­lAtE to and have a clear mes­sage.

* HOW CAN PAR­ENTS BE IN­VOLVED IN DE­VEL­OP­ING THE READ­ING HABIT IN CHIL­DREN?

Our kIDs From younG AGE woulD oF­tEn pICk up A Book AnD try to Im­I­tAtE us By rEAD­InG. So In­tro­DuC­InG Books from young age and get­ting them in the habit of read­ing is im­por­tant. I would also en­cour­age par­ents to read with their chil­dren be­fore the bed­time.

* CAN YOU GIVE YOUR OPIN­ION OF THE CHIL­DREN’S BOOKS PUB­LISH­ING IN­DUS­TRY IN THE UAE?

We are self-pub­lished so we haven’t dealt with the pub­lish­ing in­dus­try here.

* WILL DIGITILISATION KILL THE PHYS­I­CAL BOOK?

No AnD stuD­IEs kEEp show­ing how screen time sHoulD BE mIn­ImIsED; so Books are still the per­fect al­ter­na­tive.

* ARE YOU ONLINING ‘ZAY­OODI GOES TO THE PA­RADE’?

YEs; wE ArE on FACE­Book, In­stA­GrAm AnD TwIt­tEr.

* WHAT IS THE NEXT SUB­JECT YOU WILL WRITE ON?

‘ZAy­ooDI GoEs to tHE DEsErt’ Is tHE tI­tlE oF our nExt Book. It is about Zay­oodi go­ing on a fam­ily trip to the desert and read­ers also get in­tro­duced to the grand­par­ents.

Zay­oodi proudly holds up the Na­tional Flag.

Sarah Sil­lis and Zayed (left) with Dina Na­has.

UAE Na­tional Day falls on De­cem­ber 2.

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