A children's reading app born out of necessity

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As an enthusiastic Emirati children's author and illustrator, I launched I love my mum’s pretty veil at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) and the iPad version of the app is now available for download from the app store.

As a full-time housewife and mother of four, I struggled to find funny Emirati books to entertain my little ones. It was because of this void that I created I love my mum’s pretty veil reading app.

Although I spent the early years of my childhood in the US and UK, I created this app to promote cultural heritage and values among young girls in the Gulf and the greater Arab world in an interactive and educational way.

It is important that we take advantage of the growing popularity of technology amongst youth and produce creative and stimulating platforms that instill pride in our culture and heritage.

As an enthusiastic Emirati children's author and illustrator, I launched I love my mum’s pretty veil at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) and the iPad version of the app is now available for download from the app store.

I love my mum’s pretty veilis told through the eyes of children and showcases the love they have for their mothers who take pride in wearing veils. Yet despite the storyline, encouraging kids to wear the veil is not the purpose of the app.

The main role of the app is not to promote the Hijab, but to reinforce pride in cultures which use the veil and instill national pride. I want to show the world the real essence of cultures that have been misrepresented. I want to broaden people’s minds.

twofour54 were incredibly happy to support myself and help maintain the Emirati tradition of passing stories from one generation to the next.

I am grateful for the support of twofour54 creative lab and the network of professionals throughout every stage of the creative process. The creative community was essential for the project and enabled myself to breathe life into the idea.

Since the sight of children flaunting tablets half their size has become the norm, shifting storytelling to apps makes sense because the stories now have a greater chance of reaching a wider audience in a medium they’re already comfortable with.

During ADIBF, it was very exciting to see the astonishment of children when they found out my pictures and voices are used in the app – this encouraged them to sit attentively. The fun activities around I love my mum’s pretty veil appealed to boys too. I have high hopes for the future, with a Kid’s Book Cafe, where children can enjoy reading while their parents relax, close on the horizon.

My other published works include I love my daddy’s long beard and the award-winning My own specialway – the first Emirati children’s book to be sold in the UK and shortlisted for the ninth edition of the prestigious Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. In addition to, "Uncle Khalfan's Sheep”, which has also been launched during Abu Dhabi book fair and it is the first book to be sponsored by Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children.

I promote reading by doing school visits and giving creative workshops around the Emirates in addition to being a board member on the UAE Board on Books for Young People.

 If you would like to connect with me, please head over to her website or Twitter account below:

http://maithaalkhayat.com/ or @MaithaALkhayat