Children's Literature and Qatari Heritage

By: Faten Azzam, Senior Information Services Librarian
children listening to stories at the QNL Children's Library


The Children’s Library is full of books written by local authors, brimming with linguistic, intellectual and literary stories that are appropriate for children of all tastes and maturity levels. These books can help bring joy to children’s souls, shape their personalities, enhance their identities, and enrich their knowledge of the heritage and civilization of their country. The books come in various media and colors, including folk songs, plays, games and stories directed at children. 

Supporting parents and educators is one of our key interests in the Children’s Library. We offer them guidance through various publications and provide fun ideas that help them devise wonderful activities to practice with their children. These activities may vary to include singing, storytelling, artwork and folk games to enhance and bolster the child’s cultural identity.

Folk games are an important part of childhood development and heritage preservation. In the Arabic book Grandma and Me: Popular Games, Qatari writer Mariam Jomaa Al Mansouri explores the region's traditional games for children. Songs, too, instill religious and family values and teach children about life in Qatar’s past. The Arabic book Traditional Songs for Children, compiled by Dr. Kaltham Al-Ghanim, is a great way to teach children about previous generations in the region. 

Grandparents' tales have a profound impact on our children, who feel warmth and familiarity when family members gather around their elders to listen to traditional folk tales and stories. As a parent, you can play the role of the grandfather and the grandmother by wearing traditional clothes and narrating one of the traditional tales.

 You can use the library's resources, including the book Ya heyatya ya beyatya, by Qatari writer Maryam Al-Subaie. In this stimulating book, children will get to learn about one of the customs to welcome returning pilgrims by cultivating Al Heyya Beyya and singing to express joy, longing and happiness for their return. Al Heyya Beyya is a small basket made of palm fronds, in which girls grow grains and cereals.

Youm Al Khatma [Day of Finishing Memorization of the Qur’an], by Qatari writer Hessa Al-Awadi, addresses religious values and helps children learn traditional words and names. The author narrates the story of the child Amna, a child who completed the memorization of the Glorious Qur’an with the help of her mutawiaa (Qur’an female teacher).

The plants and animals of the Qatari peninsula are as much a part of its heritage as its people. The six-book Qatar Nature Explorer series, by Frances Gillespie, takes children on a journey through Qatar’s natural world. Readers learn about how dates grow, meet bats and birds, and dive into the waters of the Arabian Gulf. 

The Library also publishes blogs that cater to parents, supported with local publications that nurture children’s cultural identity with the heritage of their country. For example, this article introduced new ways of celebrating Qatar National Day, which took place at a time when all the doors for outdoor entertainment and fun were closed.

To explore more books and resources about Qatari and Gulf heritage, you are invited to browse our online catalog and visit the Qatar Digital Library portal and our Digital Repository


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