Doha, Qatar: As a champion of Qatari authors and as a dedicated platform for Qatari narratives, Hamad bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) is excited to launch a long list of books that are 100% made in Qatar at this year’s Doha International Book Fair. Spanning across all genres, from children’s to fiction and non-fiction, the number of books published by HBKU Press written by Qatari writers is on the rise. The world-class publishing house helps local authors highlight the local narrative, nurture their talents and provides them with an established platform from which their voices can be heard.
Teach with words; love with books
Qatari author Muneera Saad Al-Romaihi is known for tackling sensitive topics in her Children’s books and her third book is no exception. The author of best-sellers Khayal Manal (Manal’s World) and Majid Al Ghadeb (Angry Majid), will release Ana Ushbeh Al Qamar (I Look like the Moon) where she confronts the poignant subject of brave children fighting the battle for their life: cancer. From the window of his hospital bedroom, a child looks out at the moon where its bright, white light is reflected on the child’s smooth, bare head. More than their similarity in appearance, both the moon and the child are symbols of purity and hope. In her delicate and poetic style, Al-Romaihi takes readers on a journey of courage, where these brave little heroes face disease with a smile, and see the light in the heart of darkness.
First-time author Jameela Sultan Al Mass Al Jassem published two books with HBKU Press that will launch at the fair. Rehlat Riyal (The Riyal’s Journey) and Alamatni Namla (The Ant Teacher) highlight themes of compassion and empathy through imaginative adventures that are sure to entertain.
“It is very important for me to write stories that entertain children of course, but also ones that teach important lessons. It is my social responsibility as an author to do so,” explains Al Jassem. “Both of my stories teach moral lessons of kindness, compassion and charity. I hope that children read my books and enjoy the story but also take away important life lessons and apply them to their daily lives, as well.”
Shaikha Al Zeyara, an established Qatari author publishing for the first time with HBKU Press, brings to life a tale based on traditional stories passed down from generation to generation explaining the legend of how the sail was invented in Qatar in the book titled Sultan Al-Baher. Readers will sail the high seas in an adventurous sailing competition between May, the granddaughter of the naval fleet commander, Shahin, and Ghilan, a clever sailor with the newly-discovered sail at his disposal. Will May’s passion or Ghilan’s wit prevail? Who will rightfully claim the title of Sultan Al-Baher?
“Sultan al-Baher is a story that has been passed down from our ancestors, and as a Qatari it is my priority to write about topics that instil patriotism and that serve as reminders of our proud heritage,” explains Al Zeyara. “And though it is my first time publishing with HBKU Press, it was a clear choice to publish with this local publishing house that provides high-level services to authors like myself and specializes in highlighting and promoting local authors and their stories.”
And in a first for HBKU Press, thirteen-year-old Al Maha Al Delaimi becomes the youngest author ever to publish with the publishing house. Fuelled by her drive to help others and to make the world a better place, her book Values for a Better World explores how individual children can change the world by starting with small changes in themselves and around their community. The seven-day calendar-style book is based on Delaimi’s first-hand experiences and proves that change is possible no matter your age.
Finally, in and educational materials, two new series that were commissioned by HBKU Press to teach children vocabulary relative to the local environment around the Arab child. Silsilat Min Be’ati introduces children aged 4-6 to simple linguistic concepts with the intention to develop the readers’ vocabulary, and to enhance their skills in distinguishing between colors, shapes, games and foods. Similarly, Silsilat Dawrat Hayat Alka’inat introduces children of the same age to simple scientific information about the stages of the life cycle of some organisms found in their environment.
Something for everyone
These books and many more will launch at the Doha International Book Fair (DIBF) 2017 from November 29 – December 5, 2017. The DIBF will be held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center and opens every day from 9:00a.m. to 10:00p.m., and on Fridays from 4:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. Follow us on our Facebook page (facebook.com/hbkupress) and on Twitter and Instagram (@hbkupress) for daily updates from the fair.