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Zayoodi Goes to the Desert

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Moving to a new country can be a bewildering experience for a young child. Being mindful of this, Sarah Sillis has written the second in a series of books, Zayoodi’s Adventures, to help youngsters learn more about the UAE, its language, and customs.

Originally from Belgium, Sarah is raising an Emirati son, Zayed, in Abu Dhabi and, feeling that he was not learning enough about his new home, she began to write about the adventures of a young Emirati boy, with her warmth and humour making them an engaging introduction to an important topic.

A gloriously colourful and lively book with a strong storyline, the second instalment, Zayoodi Goes to the Desert, was launched at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and tells of how Zayoodi and his sister go into the desert to visit his grandpa’s farm. Here there are three camels, one of which has a big belly and is Zayoodi’s favourite. The actual cause of the big belly soon becomes apparent when a baby camel is born.

This story will benefit children in a variety of ways. It tells an appealing tale and asks interesting and educational questions such as ‘have you ever been to the desert’ and ‘how many camels does Jadd (grandpa) have?’ Particularly valuable is how the narrative helps children to start building an Arabic vocabulary – in this book, seven new words are learned.

A beautiful story with illustrations that capture the magic of it all perfectly, Zayoodi Goes to the Desert also highlights some fascinating facts, such as camel milk being low in fat and rich in vitamins. All in all, this is a great book for teaching small children about the UAE, helping them to feel ‘at home’ and confident of their place in a new society.

Read the exclusive interview with Sarah Sillis >