Being the month dedicated for literature, September witnessed and is still witnessing many book launches at various venues all over the country. Coinciding with the Colombo International Book Fair 2022, book launches of children’s authors Faseeha Harthim and Rumman were held on Monday (19), at the Colombo International Book Fair which is being held at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) premises with the participation of Samudrika de Silva, chairperson of Samudra Consolidated (Pvt) Ltd, as the chief guest for the event. Young readers, parents, teachers, principals, and many other distinguished guests witnessed the launch of the two books; Sarah and The Gypsy Carnival by Faseeha Harthim and Smile Dear Snaily! by Rumman.
Sarah and The Gypsy Carnival is Faseeha Harthim’s fourth book which is a sequel to Sarah’s Story which was first published in 2019, as a children’s book for the kids between the ages seven–12. The story follows a little girl named ‘Sarah’ who discovers a gypsy camp in the woods behind her house. Despite the numerous scary tales she hears about the gypsies, Sarah visits the gypsy camp in secret, to check the truth behind the stories are true. Nevertheless, she gets fascinated by their strange lifestyle and discovers a secret about the gypsy chief that has tormented the gypsies for a long time. She tries to rescue the gypsies from the cruel gypsy chief and saves her town from danger. This story encourages readers to break stereotypes and to stay curious to get the best out of life. The book is decorated with 13 beautiful illustrations made for children by Nuskiya Faleel and will be an ideal book to teach reading and comprehension for children. Faseeha Harthim’s other books are; Tanya’s Tiny House on Wheels and The Vanished Village and Tanya’s Tiny House on Wheels and The Circus Island, which have been translated to Sinhala as well. All her books, which are published by Samudra Publishers, contain a page of questions for discussion at the end aiming to test the understanding of the little readers.
Smile Dear Snaily! is Rumman’s second book in her Little Animals Series. It is a picture book written for four-six-year-olds to introduce them to the world of little animals. The beautiful illustrations that add elegance to the book are done by young illustrator, Maryam Asath Ali. The story follows a snail that has difficulty in adapting to his friends during play time due to his physical traits. It shows how his other little animal companions compromise with the games they play to keep him happy. The story aims to teach the children a lesson about the value of friendship and how good friends help you with your emotional well -being. It teaches children the beauty in diversity and the power of unity. The book has 10 pages and includes activities and games for the reader is published by Samudra Publishers. Rumman’s first book, Little Beb’s Wish was published in 2021 by Pages Book House. The purpose of the Little Animals Book Series is to celebrate little animals that play a big role in maintaining the ecosystem. If they go extinct, the whole food-chain will break apart and the ecosystem will get destroyed. Their contribution to the environment is taken for granted and the author wishes to introduce these animals to children at an early stage to get them to love these little animals. She also wishes to get children interested in learning more about science.
The book launch of Sarah and The Gypsy Carnival was hosted by Farha Harthim. The publisher, Samudrika de Silva presented the first copy to the author, Faseeha Harthim. The author then presented the first copy to her father, Harthim Salih. A reading of chapter one was performed by Leena Raheel. Following the reading of the first chapter, the author made a speech, giving some background to the story, where she found her inspirations and how she wrote the book. Later she had an interactive session with children, asking them questions to tap into their creativity. It was wrapped up by a book signing session where the readers got to meet the author in person, get their books signed, and take photographs.
The book launch of Smile Dear Snaily! was hosted by Nuha Niflan. The welcome speech was done by Shamrooth Abdul Latheef from Good Hope College. The publisher Samudrika de Silva presented the first copy of the book to the author, Rumman.
The author presented the first copy to her husband, MAM Azeem. She also presented her book to her illustrator, Maryam Asath Ali, an international journalist and aeronautic officer, Zafar Ahmed, a poet, Rauf Hazeer, a retired airport officer, Mansoor Sayed, principal of Al Aqsa National School, Mustafa Ansar, and Sameeha Zafeer, a journalist. Maryam Asath Ali and Umaira Asath Ali performed a song to entertain the audience. It was followed by the author’s speech. Vote of thanks was given by Hafsa Asath Ali. To conclude the event, the author took photographs with the audience and signed books for them.
(Pix by Manjula Dayawansa)
By Induwara Athapattu