- ‘The Little Ghaf Tree’ is the first children’s book about the National Tree of the UAE, written by Hanadi Al Fahim
- The book conveys a message to children on giving, resilience, kindness and coexistence
Abu Dhabi, 18 September 2019: Emirati author Hanadi Al Fahim celebrates her love for the Emirates and its nature with the launch of her first children’s book – The Little Ghaf Tree.
An advocate for the environment, she is the first Emirati author to write about the characteristics and benefits of the UAE National Tree, in her enchanting children’s picture book, which is a true homage to her love for this majestic tree of life.
“My admiration for the Ghaf Tree and all it stands for started in 2006”, said Hanadi Al Fahim. No stranger to the Ghaf tree, Hanadi Al Fahim actively supported the nationwide campaign led by Emirates Nature-WWF in partnership with Al Fahim Group in 2006, to save it from becoming endangered. Her commitment to the cause and national outreach was instrumental in the tree being awarded the status, ‘National Tree of the UAE’ in 2008.
“I wanted to write a book about the tree in a way children would enjoy whilst learning all about it at the same time. My hope is for children to embrace the values of the Ghaf tree, expressed in the storyline, which emphasize on giving, resilience, kindness and coexistence and to carry them through to their adulthood,” said Hanadi Al Fahim.
Hanadi steps into the genre of nonfiction storytelling drawing inspiration from her father, well-known Emirati businessman and author Mohammed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim, who has written several award-winning books, including the bestseller ‘From Rags to Riches’. She aims to entertain and educate young children on the natural benefits and socio-cultural aspects of the Ghaf tree through her new book.
A true patron of arts and a passionate environmentalist, Hanadi wanted to lead by example. As a prominent Emirati, she understood the power words could have on young children. She wanted to educate young minds about the National Tree, its life-giving benefits and old Emirati traditions surrounding it.
“When the logo of the Year of Tolerance was launched, I took it as a sign to complete the story that I had started. Launching the book during the Year of Tolerance was my way of contributing to the government’s efforts in instilling in our children a love for our culture and environment, while educating them on the importance of preserving our environment and coexisting with nature and neighbors,” she continued.
“I love to encourage children to read and believe one cannot have too many books! With devices being more accessible to children nowadays they tend to choose them over the world of reading,” she added. Similarly, the UAE Federal Law of reading 2016 in addition to various UAE initiatives, such as the Month of Reading and Sheikh Zayed Book Award, are great examples of the government’s continuing support to encourage a culture of reading and inspire more literary work about the country and its lively, diverse culture.
Aimed at children from ages five to ten years, Hanadi brings to life the flora and fauna of the deserts of the UAE and follows the adventures of a little Ghaf tree as he regales desert tales of his family and friends and learns to adapt to life in the desert.
Hanadi’s words are brought to life by the magnificent illustrations of talented artist Shahul Hameed. Shahul’s beautiful and realistically drawn illustrations transport you into the desert world, where he portrays the natural habitat of the UAE in stunning detail and vibrant colors. Every bird, animal and insect drawn is an actual replica of the real life species in the UAE deserts, with a pictorial glossary page at the back of the book for children to refer to it and acquaint themselves with the species that live in the wondrous Ghaf tree.
The book is available in both English and Arabic in all major bookstores around the UAE and on Amazon. It is an excellent tool in educating, both, children and their parents about the traits of the National Tree and the rich biodiversity it supports.