By Anousha Vakani and Mona Sabr
We found two Sharqiya authors with must-have books to add to your collection.
La Ba2s (No problem/it’s okay)
Zaina Zedan grew up in Sharqiya, studied in Boston and currently lives in Jeddah with her family. She is inspired by her own children as well as by others around her who are affected on a daily basis by the alarming rates of bullying in public and private schools. So, she came up with “La Ba2s,” a children’s book that conveys an important message in a simple way.
The book is written in short and simple sentences to appeal to Zedan’s target audience – children above the age of three. Concerned about her own children losing their language, she wrote the book in Arabic to help them and others connect to their mother tongue.
“La Ba2s” is a discussion-based book that illustrates multiple situations. Each page introduces a new scenario and encourages children to accept that “it’s okay to be different.” Some pages show characters saying that it’s okay to wear braces, use a wheelchair, stutter, make mistakes, lose and still be happy for others and many other important values. Zedan encourages the acceptance of difficult situations including physical disabilities and divorce.
Her book readings, which are more of a social service in line with her education background in Special Education and Human Development, are accompanied by a mini-workshop that includes discussions, interactive activities and photo booths with customized props. The discussions aim to help children learn how to deal with bullying by telling an adult and even understanding the psyche of a bully. Workshops are also held for moms where specialists discuss bullying and how to detect its warning signs.
The book was launched last September as part of a “No Bullying” campaign at Enchanted Garden in Jeddah, where Zedan is a partner. They had also teamed up with the rising social media puppet, Afroot, to produce a four-minute video to raise awareness.
Zedan is proud that the book is a 100 percent Saudi project, with illustrations by the talented Sarah Taibah (sarahtaibah.com) and crochet dolls made by Ahad Yamani (Instagram: ahad_crochet).
Advice for aspiring authors?
Be inspired and write something that interests you. I was truly inspired by my own kids and I lived the issues I wrote about firsthand.
So, Jeddah or Sharqiya? (We had to ask!)
Oh, I personally choose to live in Jeddah because it is livelier but I would never abandon Khobar. I have been very influenced by it and implement a lot of my Sharqawi habits in my own home.
The book is available at Yamoo Boutique, Ghosabi Village, Khobar and Bubbles Boutique, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Rd., Khobar
Instagram: laba2sbook / enchantedg
A Spoonful of Home
Rania Moualla sees herself as a mother, wife and entrepreneur. She started as a full-time volunteer at the Dhahran Ahliyya Schools where she organized various fundraisers. She also founded the “Friends of Cancer Patients” Foundation, which is now known as SANAD. She is an active member of the Joud Foundation and the Saudi Cancer Society with whom she organized her first fashion show.
Her fashion line, Ya Balady, started 10 years ago and she continues to donate fashionable turbans to cancer patients in hospitals in Saudi Arabia and the United States. Moualla also worked with the Down Syndrome School where she organized four fundraising fashion shows.
Her cookbook, “A Spoonful of Home,” is a project close to her heart. She remembers finding one of the books her father had written, reading the dedication to his family and knowing she too had to leave something for her own family to be proud of and pass on from generation to generation. Her core intention, however, has always been to help children and so she worked with the Joud Foundation to organize two book-signing events where all proceeds went to the foundation.
Moualla believes that change happens slowly and we need to start with ourselves. When you ask her friends and family to describe her, they all agree that she always creates with a purpose and wants everyone around her to feel right at home, no matter where they are.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Cooking is an art so start with your favorite recipe and prepare it with love. Once a month, prepare and refrigerate the basics such as eggplant, ground garlic, ground beef, hummus, chopped parsley and so on.
What recipes would you prepare for a small gathering?
Olive salad, shish tawouk and namoura.
Essential kitchen items?
Garlic grinder, salt and olive oil.