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Treasury of tales

September 30 - October 6, 2020
Gulf Weekly Treasury of tales

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

A COLLECTION of more than a hundred stories by elementary school students across the kingdom has been released by a foundation dedicated to nurturing young authors.

Launched under the patronage of Shaikha Hala bint Muhammad Al Khalifa, Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities’ director-general of culture and arts, and in the presence of Riyad Hamzah, president of University of Bahrain (UOB), the first volume of Young Authors’ Stories features 109 stories by 111 writers aged seven to 13.

The book has been edited and compiled by Maryam Abu Alfateh, educator and managing director of Young Authors for Education and Training.

“This book is a compilation of innovative ideas and imaginations of elementary school students transformed into short stories,” Maryam said.

“I was inspired to collect and publish these tales when my eight-year-old daughter Nouf read one of her own stories to me.

“In addition to giving our readers a peek into the imaginative minds of Bahrain’s kids, I want to encourage our children to write.

“This project aims to trigger a child’s creativity and reveal some of their inner inspiration.

“It also builds self-esteem and confidence in their writing ability, especially after seeing their thoughts transformed into stories and published in a book, which will be preserved on their bookshelves, in the company of other important stories.”

The book is divided into six sections, based on the grade
 level of the students.
The tales have been inked by elementary level pupils of all nationalities from 10 of Bahrain’s private schools: A. Rahman Kanoo International School (ARKIS), Ibn Khuldoon National School, Modern Knowledge Schools (MKS), Naseem International School, Hawar International School, Ahlia School, AMA International School, British School of Bahrain (BSB), St Christopher’s and Arabian Pearl Gulf school.

Maryam, who is a research and teaching assistant at the College of Applied Studies at UOB and lectures part-time at the Bahrain Institute for Banking and Finance (BIBF), said: “I started on this project in January and the stories took about five months to collect. After that, my work really started when we started working on the proof reading, illustrations, story design and book design.”

Each story is accompanied by a beautiful digital illustration of the main characters, motifs or inspiration for the tale, done by Bahraini artist Mohammed Al Mahdi.

GulfWeekly spoke to some of the young authors featured in the book to delve into their stories.

Hamza Samer Ameen, a grade six student at ARKIS, said: “My story, Storm at Sea, is about a person caught in a storm while at the beach and how he saved the life of a man after he heard his pleas for help. I was inspired to write this story when we learned about storms at school.”

Maria Fourfi, who is currently in seventh grade at St Christopher’s, wrote her story, Silent Moonlight, earlier this year when she was studying at BSB. The 11-year-old added: “This story is about an imaginary adventure I shared with my best friend Grace. It’s a thrilling and scary story.

“One night, while we were alone in my house, we tried a mobile app which spawns virtual monsters, but it all turned too real when one showed up under my bed. I had a dream like this once, which inspired me and I am planning to write a sequel soon!”

Arseniy Tsiolta, 12, who studies in grade six at MKS, said: “My story was inspired by the Percy Jackson universe. It’s called Percy Jackson and the Fights, and in this story, he goes on a quest to find a relic to protect his camp after it was overrun by monsters.”

The book retails for BD14, exclusive of VAT and is available at the Elmia book store in Salmabad. Maryam is working on an eBook version to be released later.

For details, follow @young.authors.book on Instagram.

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