Youngest writer displays published work at book fair


Saudi Gazette

— The Jeddah International Book Fair hosted its youngest addition among this year’s new local authors, gaining publicity from visitors.

11-year-old Talia Johar held a book signing for her first published fiction novel written in Arabic.

Inspired by her surroundings, the novel tells a story of a girl who goes through adventures. “The book’s message is avoiding going overboard with adventures that might lead to problems,” said Talia, who has a passion for reading and writing.

She recently participated in a reading contest and says she aspires to be a writer when she grows up.

Her family and teachers, who attended the book signing for support, said they were proud of her achievement. “Hopefully, this won’t be her last book,” said her mother Mrs. Fatima Al-Harbi. “Both the parents’ and the school’s roles are important to encourage kids to read.”

“Parents have to notice what their children like and then encourage them to develop their skill,” said her father Nizar Johar. “It’s a different era now so we have to help them reach their goals in life are by supporting them along the way as much as possible.”

Her 6th-grade teacher Mrs. Suhair Ibrahim, who helped in proofreading and revision of the book, praised Talia for her excellent performance at school where students learn to read around four stories a year.

“Students should get rewarded for reading,” she said. “This is the best way to motivate this generation that’s used to iPads.”

To encourage reading as a regular habit, the school where she teaches takes students to field trips to King Fahd Public Library, one of the rare public libraries in Jeddah.