– Fatima Ragie, 21 March 2021

‘Abu Ubaidah Soars!’ is suitable for paired reading for children from the age of two years old (just make sure your little one doesn’t tear the pages) up to independent reading for children aged 9 years. You may think that the age range of 2-9 is rather large! It’s not.

Reading books is not a strict, uniform process. Rather, reading is a beautiful activity that needs to transform and adapt with the ages and characters of both the reader and the audience. This is how I view reading:

  • Reading is not a linear process, but rather an iterative process.
    • As adults, we often read books from the start to the end. However, when reading with young children, there is often a back and forth that happens. Sometimes a child will open a book on the last page and you will be asked to read it 20 times!
  • Reading an illustrated book is not only about reading the text.
    • Reading an illustrated book, even as adults (think comic books) is critically centred on interacting with the art. Often, especially to younger readers you will not read the text but rather relate the story or bits of it in your own words based on the illustrations. When reading an illustrated book, point out aspects of the art and ask questions about it. For example, ‘What colour is the trunk? Is it made out of wood or steel?’, ‘Do we have a garden path in our garden like Abu Ubaidah’s family?’, ‘See the tomato plant! Do you eat tomatoes?’, or ‘Can you see the books that look like Daddy’s bookshelf?’. Point out physical objects that match the art and relate incidents to your child.
  • Reading an illustrated book is for all ages.
    • No child is too young to hold a book. The only thing that should stop you handing over a good book to your child is the physical damage that they may inflict on it. Read to your younger child, adapt your tone and the storyline if appropriate. Get older kids to read to you, to younger children, and to the elderly.
  • Reading an illustrated book is also for adults.
    • Adults should read illustrated books. It takes only a few minutes, but that time reading a simple storyline is a way to reflect. Reflect on how you would have interacted with the story as a child, what have you lost and gained in your ageing, and what reminders can you take with you after you put that book down.

Truly, I am overjoyed at how Abu Ubaidah has turned out as a book. It looks beautiful, feels nice, reads well, and is a story that I would have loves reading growing up.


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