#QATARILITMONTH: Children’s Literature

The Children’s Library At Qatar National Library: Promoting Qatari Children’s Literature

Qatar National Library is a cultural and educational institution that offers the community diverse programming in all fields as a way to serve Qatari society.

The role of the Children’s Library is important, as it provides young learners with an inspiring atmosphere that enables them to discover their interests and talents through interaction with the library’s resources, services and spaces.

Children and their parents, caregivers, and teachers, are welcome to enjoy exploring and learning from the Children’s Library’s resources. We provide an inspirational learning space for children to not only fall in love with reading, but also to explore their curiosity by engaging with the Library’s space and collections.

The Children’s Library offers the following:

  • a collection of more than 100,000 children’s books
  • ebooks and electronic educational games available through our online resources
  • educational toys that develop the children’s sensory motor skills by getting them involved in fun activities

The Library hosts numerous activities for children and their families, such as:

  • Interactive story time
  • Creative workshops
  • Early literacy programs
  • Book discussions
  • Science, Arts, literature and theater programs
  • Programs and activities for children with special needs conducted by experts and specialists
  • Workshops for parents, educators and caretakers on child development and learning, and much more

Qatari Authors and Children’s Literature

To support Qatari authors, the Children’s Library has created a special corner for national books and literature, highlighting writers’ role in society, enhancing Qatari identity and preserving the nation’s heritage. This section of the Library books attracts young writers and gives them a platform to present their work, share their experiences and inspire children. The Children’s Library also hosts Qatari writers throughout the year, particularly around national holidays, to introduce them to the community, and especially to children.

Interest in children’s literature has risen worldwide and in the Gulf region in particular. Haya Dhabbet Al-Dosari, a Qatari researcher and holder of a master’s degree in literature and criticism, is one of the founders of the Qatari Literature Initiative in 2018 and author of the book Sardeyat fe Adab alTefl (A Narrative on Children’s Literature). She discusses the most important factors that have contributed to promoting the narrative movement of children in Qatari society, such as older generations sharing folk stories, men’s majles, and the simple folk theaters in small towns and schools. Institutions also made a significant contribution to the narrative movement, with state entities formed after independence superseding traditional storytelling in the community, particularly after the launch of the first competition by the Ministry of Culture and Arts.

Al-Dosari also says that writers have a role in establishing a culture of children’s literature through creative products. She explains the need for critics of children’s literature to study the literary resources available to children and highlight ways to enrich and develop them.

Selected Children Books By Qatari Authors Available In English

Author : Dalal Ghanim Al-Romaihi

(2019) HBKU Press

ISBN : 9789927137655

Author : Kaltham Al-Ghanim

(2011) HBKU Press

ISBN : 9789992178874

Author: Al Maha Al- Delaimi

(2017) Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing

ISBN: 978-9927119330

Angry Majid

Author: Muneera Al Rumaihi

(2017) Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press

Ghosoun and her Brother, the Gazelle

Author: Kaltham Al Ghanim

(2016) Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press

According to her research, Al-Dosari estimates that children’s literature passes through three stages: beginning, extension and maturity. The beginning is the emergence of children’s literature with publications in the field of short stories. In Qatar, the extension stage developed in the 1990s and focused on social issues and cultural heritage. Finally, in the maturity stage, which started in 2010, awareness of books grew and the mechanisms of creative writing developed for children, focused on heritage, historical topics and science fiction.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that Qatar’s development has included significant growth in the area of literature, and especially children’s literature. The Library, in turn, is keen on supporting and enriching children’s literature in the country and working to provide Qatar’s children with the ways and means to continue to learn.

Qatari children’s book The Firefly is a finalist in the Children’s Picture Book (illustrative 6 years and above) category of the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The book is written by first-time Qatari children’s author, Ameera H. Al-Naemi.

 The Firefly by Ameera H. Al-Naemi. ISBN: 978-9927129834

Written By

Noor Mohamed

Noor Mohamed joined Qatar National Library in 2014 as an information service librarian in the children’s department. She is interested in building love of reading through various programs and creative art programs, focused on children, Qatari children’s literature, and its enrichment of society.

Special thanks to Muneera A. Al-Buainain for the Children Books Recommendations in this post.

#QatariLitMonth is curated by Abeer S. Al-Kuwari

Abeer works as director of Research and Learning Services at the newly established Qatar National Library (QNL). Abeer’s work focuses on engaging library researchers in the Qatari community to explore archival and libraries as Memory institutions and documentary heritage. She is a founding member of the Library and Information Association in Qatar (LIA-Q), which was established in 2014.

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