Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press), in collaboration with FNAC, launched its latest children’s book, 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.
Children of all ages enjoyed a captivating book reading by the two authors in the Doha Festival City branch of FNAC on Friday, February 7, 2020. Using their imagination and their math skills, audience members embarked on an adventurous journey through the mangroves of Qatar to help the main characters of the book solve riddles in order to unlock a password that would take a poor lost falcon back to his family.
Mir, an Assistant Professor of English, and Bateiha, an Associate Professor of Mathematics, were inspired to write this book when they recognized a lack of resources regarding children’s math stories set in the region and based on local culture and characters. They hope to address a gap in multicultural texts and culturally diverse storytelling. Their main goal with this publication is that local Arab and Qatari students see themselves in the story and therefore identify with the concepts being taught.
“We believe that Spring Bloom will provide students with the opportunities to engage in more meaningful learning by addressing inclusion, cultural relevance and representation,” explained Bateiha.
“Our hope is that Spring Bloom can illustrate how mathematics teachers can use stories to engage students playfully in the processes of teaching and learning math,” continued Mir.
HBKU Press’s genre of Children’s books includes many narrative stories that can be used as a learning tool for education as storytelling can enhance academic instruction in primary education.
“HBKU Press is committed to giving local talents a platform to tell their unique stories,” explains Rima Ismail, Outreach and Special Projects Manager of HBKU, “Spring Bloom embodies the standard of excellence that HBKU Press maintains in all of its publications. Specifically, with regards to the Children’s genre, this book is a perfect example of how HBKU Press chooses publications based on the lessons and values that they can teach children to promote knowledge and understanding about their local environment and of educational concepts.”
The event marked one of many collaborations between HBKU Press and FNAC, both of whom aim to highlight local talents in Qatar while engaging the local population to participate in literary events in an effort foster a love of reading and writing.
Jointly, the co-authors added: “We are pleased that HBKU Press has supported this project to promote cultural representation both in the region and internationally. As well, we are fortunate that HBKU Press recognizes how storytelling can be used as a way to teach different topics in a fun and enjoyable way. We also appreciate FNAC store’s commercial support in selling this book and providing a great venue for the launch.”
Spring Bloom is available in the HBKU Press Bookstore (located in the College of Islamic Studies building in Education City), in FNAC stores and in bookstores across Qatar, as well as on Amazon Kindle as an eBook.