An Exclusive Interview with Sarah Sillis
EDUAE: Where do you get your ideas?
Sarah: The stories are based on day-to-day scenarios of my son exploring his culture. The main idea is teaching children about the UAE, its traditions and culture in a fun and interactive way, while touching upon some basic Arabic vocabulary.
EDUAE: Was there an early experience where you learned that language has power?
Sarah: As a child my mom took me to the library on a weekly basis. She instilled the love of books and knowledge in me. I just loved being carried away through stories into a different world.
EDUAE: What is the most difficult part of the writing process?
Sarah: I find the revising part of writing to be the hardest as it requires you to put yourself in the place of the child and make sure that the story is fun and interesting enough without having too much text. As it is an educational series it is also challenging to find a balance between giving new information without coming across as condescending.
EDUAE: Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Sarah: Publishing my first book was a challenge and it taught me a lot. I have taken into account feedback from teachers, parents, and young readers. So yes, the process was different as I focused more on the creative side instead of the practical side. Also, I had already set the tone of a writing style so I had a path to follow, whereas with the first book, I had to pave the path.
EDUAE: What’s next?
Sarah: We have already launched our first card game; a domino game teaching children the names of the family members in Arabic.
Sarah Sillis is the author of the Zayoodi’s Adventures children series among others. She has also launched her own fashion line in the UAE, known as SaQueena, designing sportswear for Muslim women.