Books — Made in UAE
On reading tour in Germany

The Goethe-Institut Gulf Region and the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) invited Emirati children book authors Maitha Al Khayat and Noura Al Khoori to attend the international literature festival berlin (ilb), which took place from 7 – 17 September 2016. In cooperation with the „Deutsch-Arabische Freundschaftsgesellschaft e.V.“ (DAFG), who organised the author’s stay in the German capital as a partner of UAEBBY and the Goethe-Institut, the children’s programme of the ilb had offered to give a platform to UAE children’s and young adult literature within the framework of a „Special Focus“. The focus was designed to draw attention to the creative potential and cultural richness of the UAE and to offer an opportunity for both adults and children to learn more about the Arab world and the Arabic language.

In their reading session at the ilb, Maitha Al Khayat and Noura Al Khouri enthused more than 270 school children who listened carefully to the Emirati stories and were excited to learn about Emirati culture and traditions. They even had the chance to try on a boy’s kandoura and were taught how to wear a Sheila, just as the Emirati women do.

Together with Ute Krause, one of Germany’s top children’s book authors and illustrators and also a witness to the start of „Books – Made in UAE“ in 2011, they discussed the situation of the literary scene in the UAE in a well-attended panel discussion.
 

  • Books — Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books — Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books - Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books - Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books - Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books - Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books - Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
  • Books - Made in UAE' authors on reading tour in Germany © Bettina Quabius
    Books – Made in UAE: Authors on reading tour in Germany
Noura Al Khooriwho visited the German capital for the very first time, says: „The journey to Berlin to bring a piece of the Emirates to German kids was magical. I was very impressed with the meticulous organization of all events and how they all poured into spreading the love of books and stories.“ And she remembers: „The happiness on the children's faces captured the true essence of story-telling - unforgettable moments! Won't forget the children's gasps when they learned the Emirati falcons wore miniature burqas - just like burqas worn by older Emirati women!“

In addition, the two authors conducted reading sessions at the District Library in Tempelhof-Schöneberg for Arab-speaking school children in so called „Welcome Classes“, at the Refugee Centre Friedenau and at the Asylothek, a library for refugees and Germans in Germany’s largestrefugee center in the former Tempelhof Airport.
Maitha Al Khayat comments on her experience: „To be able to read my Arabic stories in the land of the Brothers Grimm, the masters of classics, was a fairytale itself for me. It was amazing how German children enjoyed our stories and it touched our hearts to spread laughter and joy in the hearts of the refugees.“