#QATARILITMONTH: Children’s Literature and Qatari Heritage

Children in Traditional Qatari Clothes Holding Qatar Flags

The Children’s Library is full of books written by local authors, brimming with linguistic, intellectual and literary stories that are appropriate for children of all tastes and maturity levels. These books can help bring joy to children’s souls, shape their personalities, enhance their identities, and enrich their knowledge of the heritage and civilization of their country. The books come in various media and colors, including folk songs, plays, games and folk stories directed at children.

Girls in Traditional Qatari Clothes

Supporting parents and educators is one of our key interests in the Children’s Library. We offer them guidance through various publications and provide fun ideas that help them devise wonderful activities to practice with their children. These activities may vary to include singing, storytelling, artwork and folk games to enhance and bolster the child’s cultural identity.

Folk games are an important part of childhood development and heritage preservation. In the Arabic book Grandma and Me: Popular Games, Qatari writer Mariam Jomaa Al Mansouri explores the region’s traditional games for children. To access the book, click here. Folk songs, too, instill religious and family values and teach children about life in Qatar’s past. The Arabic book Traditional Songs for Children, compiled by Dr. Kaltham Al-Ghanim, is a great way to teach children about previous generations in the region. To access the book, click here.

Author: Maryam Al-Subaie
(2016) Occidental- Qatar
ISBN: 97899273776

Grandparents’ tales have a profound impact on our children, who feel warmth and familiarity when family members gather around their elders to listen to traditional folk tales and stories. As a parent, you can play the role of the grandfather and the grandmother by wearing traditional clothes and narrating one of the traditional tales. You can use the library’s resources, including the book Ya heyatya ya beyatya, by Qatari writer Maryam Al-Subaie. In this stimulating book, children will get to learn about one of the customs to welcome returning pilgrims by cultivating Al Heyya Beyya and singing to express joy, longing and happiness for their return. Al Heyya Beyya is a small basket made of palm fronds, in which girls grow grains and cereals.

Al Heyya Beyya Tradition and Song preformed previously during the First Day of Eid Al Adha

Youm Al Khatma [Day of Finishing Memorization of the Qur’an], by Qatari writer Hessa Al-Awadi, addresses religious values and helps children learn traditional words and names. The author narrates the story of the child Amna, a child who completed the memorization of the Glorious Qur’an with the help of her mutawiaa (Qur’an female teacher). To access the book in Arabic, click here.

The plants and animals of the Qatari peninsula are as much a part of its heritage as its people. The six-book Qatar Nature Explorer series, by Frances Gillespie, takes children on a journey through Qatar’s natural world. Readers learn about how dates grow, meet bats and birds, and dive into the waters of the Arabian Gulf. To access the books, click here

Author: Frances Gillespie
(2018) Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press
ISBN: 9789927129407

The Library also publishes blogs that cater to parents, supported with local publications that nurture children’s cultural identity with the heritage of their country. For example, this article introduced new ways of celebrating Qatar National Day, which took place at a time when all the doors for outdoor entertainment and fun were closed.

We hope you enjoy reading and learning about some of our country’s heritage.

Written By:

Faten Azzam

Senior Information Services Librarian, Qatar National Library

Faten Azzam at Qatar National Library

#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. You can follow her on Twitter at  ‎@Abeer78k.

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