– by Jaihoon
Part two of a series of essays on Sharjah International Book Fair 2011
Atoms are at the heart of every matter. Plants grow into huge trees. Blocks of cement constitute skyscrapers.Cute cubs become daring lions. Yes, children today are parents tomorrow. And if you wish to fix the future, cherish the present in the right hands.
The Sharjah International Book fair, the carnival of the written word, was an extravaganza which appealed to both children and adults alike. And I can testify this from the experience of my little one who went there every day which lasted for 10 days. The amount of kids who crowded the Children’s Corner at the Fair for story telling, games and activities made the Books event a wonderland for the little ones.
The Mother is, undoubtedly, the first story teller for the children. But when her bag of stories runs out, she is in need for quality books which contain elements of both fun and learning that are intrinsically woven in the original culture and heritage of the society they live in.
K is for Kids. And Kalimat too.
Kalimat Books, the publisher of children’s book in Arabic, was the result of a mother’s quest for quality literature for her daughter. Sheikha Budour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the founder and CEO of Kalimat, began the publishing firm when she could not find proper books for her child. With over 100 titles in print, Kalimat has become a favorite of Emirati mothers who want to give the best for their children.
The titles from Kalimat are deep rooted in family values and aimed to build a sense of national and cultural identity among its little readers. The philosophy of Kalimat, meaning words, is very clear. Just as Kids make future parents, kalimat complete books.
Titles such as Power in Unity, kids are taught to remain intact with their society for the larger good of all. For, the wolf attacks only a lonely sheep. Baba Zayed, another recent title, is a colorful illustrated biography of the noble Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Children need to remember and remain grateful to great souls of the past for a fuller realization of their own potential to face any challenges of the future. Other two recent books are focused on respect for grandparents which is a dying phenomenon in the materialistic age.
Versatility with Equal Charm
Bodour Al Qasimi is remarkably true to the literal meaning of her name. Bodour is the feminine and plural version of the Arabic word for full moon. Married to the charismatic Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority and also Sharjah Media Corporation, she is a champion of the causes of women and children.
She is herself the epitome of women’s ability to manage multiple responsibilities with equal charm. Besides heading managerial posts at various governmental institutions like Shurooq, the cultural investment arm of Sharjah and Sharjah Ladies Club, she is also actively involved with Knowledge without Borders and is the president of Emirates Publishers Association as well as the International Baby Food Action Network in the Arab World which is aimed at reducing infant mortality.
It may be out of a coincidence, destined and ordained by the Lord, that on the eve of writing this piece, Bodour Al Qasimi was listed by a leading English daily among the Hot 40 Youths who could ‘usher UAE into the future’.