Bahraini author Haya Al Khalifa will launch her first children’s book today at the National Museum.
Little Island Big Fort is a pop-up book that follows the adventures of a young Bahraini boy and his red balloon.
The launch event, which is open to the public, will begin at 4pm and will feature a meet and greet with the book’s author, illustrator and paper engineer. There will also be activities for children, including a workshop where children can recreate a pop-up scene from the book.
Ms Al Khalifa, who is a writer and documentary photographer in Bahrain, said she was inspired to create a piece of writing that depicted Bahraini and Gulf culture.
“We are a household that loves books and my son’s library is lacking in books that are set in the Gulf and depict our culture and environment,” she told the GDN.
“I came up with the title and idea for this book in a writing exercise and it just developed from there.
“I hope that children who read my book are left with the thought that adventure awaits in our own backyard, and with National Day coming up connect them with the landmarks and sights depicted in the book.”
Ms Al Khalifa described the production of the book as a team effort over the two years it took to complete it.
“It’s been a great experience self-publishing Little Island Big Fort,” she said.
“It’s taken almost two years from inception to launch and it has been a team effort, so I think we all do feel a sense of accomplishment when holding the final print in hand.”
The children’s book is illustrated by Pia Drent and the pop-ups were created by paper engineer Renee Jablow.
Self-taught illustrator, Ms Drent, was born in the Netherlands and began working in the field in 2013, and this is her third children’s book.
Ms Jablow creates pop-up and novelty paper designs for publishing, packaging and advertising. She is credited with paper engineering more than 70 children’s books.
“I actually am a collector of pop-up books and I have always loved how unique and interactive pop-up stories are,” explained Ms Al Khalifa.
“I never realised though how much work goes into creating the intricate folding and moving parts of each page and was lucky to have an experienced paper engineer to bring my imagination to life.
“This is my first published book, but I do hope to write more children’s stories and maybe some day branch out into young adult and fantasy genres.
“Over the past few years I have pursued photography and have enjoyed expressing myself through documentary photography as a medium.
“While sharing my work I was inspired to explore other mediums of self-expression, so my foray into writing started with me pursuing my dream to write a fantasy novel but that is still a long way away.”
Copies of Little Island Big Fort will be available for purchase during today’s event at the National Museum.