Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) is proud to announce that two of its best-selling children’s books have been announced as winners in several categories of the 2020 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. Where is My Teacher?, written by 14-year-old Qatari author Dalal Al Romaihi and illustrated by Nikos Yanopolous won second place in the category of “Best Illustrations” and Spring Bloom, co-authored by two professors from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), Sadia Mir and Summer Al-Jarrah Bateiha, won first place in the “General” category
The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards were in conceived 2009 to recognize and honor accomplished authors and illustrators in the field of children's literature. Recognition is awarded to exemplary books that fall under 56 distinct subject categories ranging from the environment to cooking and from sports to family issues. Books that are awarded the prestigious Purple Dragonfly Book Award are original, innovative, and creative in both content and design, and provide children the very best in reading excellence.
“International recognition for our authors and illustrators by the judging committee of the 2020 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards reaffirms that HBKU Press is producing quality literature that engages, teaches, and entertains children,” explains Bachar Chebaro, Executive Director of HBKU Press. “The entire team at HBKU Press sends our sincerest congratulations to the talented authors and illustrators who conceived these works.”
Where Is My Teacher? was already previously named as HBKU Press’ 2020 World Book Day official selection. The delightfully inventive tale, inspired by Al-Romaihi’s own love of reading, follows Dalal’s missing teacher on a wildly imaginative journey that takes readers on a literary adventure where they are immersed in a new world on every page.
“I’m speechless,” exclaimed Al Romaihi when she was informed about the win. “I wasn’t expecting my book to win an award. But the illustrations perfectly depict the text so it’s no surprise. Nikos did a great job and the entire team at HBKU Press that supported this book from the very beginning should be very proud.”
The book’s illustrator, Nikos Yanopulos, is also the creative talent behind another one of HBKU Press’ award-winning books, The Firefly, which was recently named a finalist in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
“Dalal wrote a truly amazing story,” said Yanopulos. “Humorous, vivid and full of clever rhymes. The editorial team at HBKU Press was very supportive in that they encouraged me to artistically express myself as an artist in my drawings to help bring the text to life. I put my heart and soul into making the illustrations complement the text and to know that it has been rewarded truly means the world to me. It's a great honor to have this book recognized as the best among so many other worthy books.”
For co-authors Mir and Bateiha, the win came as a welcome surprise. Mir, an Assistant Professor of English, and Bateiha, an Associate Professor of Mathematics, were inspired to write the book when they recognized a lack of reading material regarding children’s math stories set in the region and based on local culture and characters.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards for Spring Bloom,” said authors Mir and Bateiha in a joint statement. “We wrote this book to teach math in a fun and imaginative way, but also to address a gap in multicultural storytelling. We are pleased that these themes and values have been well received and recognized internationally.
“HBKU Press has given us unwavering support to develop a children's book that promotes cultural visibility, inclusion, and positive human values in a fun way for children. We are grateful for this experience. Working with HBKU felt like a true partnership.”
This is the second time that the illustrator of Spring Bloom, Inna Ogando, has been recognized for her creative work by the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards team. In 2018, her work was recognized when A Recipe for Home won multiple awards from the organization as well.
“This book is second book winner of the Purple Dragonfly award that I had the honor to illustrate for HBKU Press,” explained Ogando. “I’ve collaborated with the publishing house on many projects and winning for this book is especially important because not only is it a beautiful story, but it’s also an educational one that helps children learn important concepts in math.”
“A very big congratulations to all of our winners who deserve all the recognition for their contributions to children’s literature,” says Linda F. Radke, president of Story Monsters LLC, the organizers of the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards.
Where Is My Teacher? and Spring Bloom can be found online as eBooks on Amazon Kindle. Hard copies of the books, and other HBKU Press publications, can now be purchased and delivered in Qatar from the Rafeeq and Snoonu applications (available to download from the Apple Store and Google Play). For more information on how to get a copy of your favorite HBKU Press books, please follow us on our Facebook page (facebook.com/hbkupress) and on Twitter and Instagram (@hbkupress) for daily updates.