Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press has just released two new books in honor of Qatar National Day 2019, titled Jassem and the Pearl of Aspiration (Jassem w Danat Al Ahlam), which is available in Arabic, and One Week in Qatar, which is available in both Arabic and English. Students from Qatar Academy Sidra and Qatar Academy Doha schools were the first to hear the stories as they were treated to engaging story-telling sessions by best-selling Qatari author, Muneera Saad Al-Romaihi, and first-time author, Isabelle Hamdan, during the schools’ Qatar National Day celebrations on December 9 and 16 respectively
“HBKU Press is committed to publishing works that are relevant to local audiences and that help disseminate knowledge and cultural understanding about Qatar on the world stage,” explains Rima Ismail, Outreach and Special Projects Manager at Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press. “These two books highlight important parts of Qatar’s past and present history, culture, lifestyle, and language. Not only are they wonderful stories, but they are educational resources as well.”
Jassem and the Pearl of Aspiration (Jassem w Danat Al Ahlam) is written by award-winning author Basma El-Khatib. It tells the story of Jassem who dreamed of finding the great pearl during the height of the pearl diving trade. Students were taken on a journey through time: from the drought and the decline of the pearl trade, to the rise of the gas and petrol industry in his precious homeland.
“As we progress forward as a nation, it is our duty to remember the story of our humble past,” explains Al-Romaihi, when asked about the importance this book. “The aim of this book when it was written and subsequently published by HBKU Press is to further ensure that the stories of our pearl-diving ancestors and of the hardships of the past are passed on to new generations so that they continue to understand and value where we came from as a people. As Jassem's story unfolds, so does the history of my country, forever preserved within the pages of this book.”
One Week in Qatar, a pre-reader board book perfect for kids from ages 0-3, helps readers explore the country in which they live. Ahmed, along with his friends, Nasser and Aisha, take a week-long trip around the many wonderful places in Qatar, from West Bay to Al Zubarah Fort and everywhere in between.
“I was inspired to write this book by my young daughters. We’ve been happily living in Qatar for four years now and I want to familiarize them with their environment and make sure they develop the language to help them explore the world around them,” explains Hamdan. “Bringing this project to life with HBKU Press has been especially fulfilling as it is a publishing house that understands and values how locally-themed stories help readers engage in books and promote reading overall.”
Both books are available in the HBKU Press Bookstore (located in the College of Islamic Studies building in Education City), in bookstores across Qatar, as well as on Amazon Kindle as an eBook.