“We Need Writers”: A Case Study of Writer-Illustrator Maitha Al-Khayat and the UAE Children’s Book Publishing Industry
To encourage children to read, there needs to be inspiring material to consume. And since reading is akin to thinking (Norris & Phillips in TEACH COLL REC. 2: 281–306, 1987), then book availability could affect the critical thinking skills of a nation. In the UAE, issues like low literacy rates (Dünges, 2011), limited bookshops (Dünges, 2011) and poor distribution (ibid.) have meant Emirati children are less likely to read, so the market remains small, resulting in a less lucrative publishing business (Al-Khayat, personal communication, November 22, 2015). This paper examines the UAE’s high investment cost for few new titles, highlighting a need for new writers. It also discusses Emirati author Maitha Al-Khayat’s experiences producing cultural and intellectual artefacts for future generations, in the hope that others might do the same.
KeywordsReading Children’s books Arabic publishing Critical thinking UAE
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