x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Little readers bring big success for Kalimat

Since being founded five years ago, the Sharjah-based publisher Kalimat has won a clutch of international awards for their groundbreaking work in Arab publishing.

Maitha Al Khayyat with her children's book I Love My Dad's Long Beard. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Maitha Al Khayyat with her children's book I Love My Dad's Long Beard. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

When her book My Own Special Way was snapped up by the British-based Orion Books two years ago, Maitha Al Khayyat joined an illustrous group of best-selling international authors including Ian Rankin, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Palin.

It was the culmination of a year of huge success for the Ras Al Khaimah writer, illustrator and mother of four, who is published in the UAE by Sheikha Bodour's Kalimat Books.

My Own Special Way, about a young girl's ambition to wear the hijab just like her older sisters, captures the essential purpose of Kalimat, which specliases in books written specifically for children in the UAE and the Middle East. Through stories rooted in local culture, the themes of the stories focus on the value of family, friendship and Islam and issues that children in the region can expect to encounter.

Since being founded five years ago, the Sharjah-based publishing house has won a clutch of international awards for its groundbreaking work in Arab publising. This year alone, three titles were nominated for the International Board on Books for Young People's Honour List, which recognises excellence by authors in 33 countries. One of the nominated titles, Wathifat Mama (My Mother's Job) tells the story of the Arab historian and traveller Ibn Battuta.

This year, 18 new Kalimat titles are being launched at the Sharjah International Book Fair, including a number for 2- to 9-year-olds: I Love My World by Kifah Bu Ali, How I Became A Wool Hat and The Travelling Suitcase by Salma Koraytem, Dana's Trip by Salha Ghabish, Rawan's Hiccups and Sara's Moneybox by Sanaa Chabbani and Maitha Al Khayyat's latest, When the Camel Craves Dumplings. It will also be hosting a number of activities including book signings and reading sessions.

For more information on Kalimat, visit www.kalimat.ae. Maitha Al Khayyat's books are available in Magrudy's stores nationwide