(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Ten books, which have been created for students by students, will soon be distributed across UAE schools to give an insight into the life of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Speaking to Khaleej Times during the opening day of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), Dr Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary of activities and care sector at the Ministry of Education (MoE), said it received a great response to the '100 Books for Zayed' initiative. "We first announced it at last year's SIBF and about 300 students from schools across the country submitted their stories. The project was carried out with the National Archives at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and 10 books made it through to the qualifying round."
The winning book, A Story of a Knight was created by three students from Al Manar Model School in Sharjah.
Elyazia Al Badouli,15, took on the role of writer, 14-year-old Naama Al Zarooni carried out the research and Nouran Al Amiri, also 14, produced the hand-drawn artwork.
"The students went through a training process with the National Archives team to ensure accredited sources were obtained, but the main narrative was the sole work of the students themselves," Al Shamsi said.
In total, 56 students worked behind the 10 winning books, and the winners explained their experience to Khaleej Times.
"At first, we were so surprised we had won because of the number of students that took part. We thought initially we would just participate for fun so that we could get creative," Al Zarooni said.
No stranger to writing competitions, Al Badouli said she has never competed in something to this scale.
"I've entered writing competition in school, but nothing country-wide like this. We produced 23 pages of written and visual content and it all focuses on the challenges and sacrifices Sheikh Zayed made for his country."
Al Shamsi said the ministry is now discussing how to take the 10 qualifying books forward.
"The idea is to classify the books into different age groups before distributing them in schools. We also want to translate them into other languages. Having them in Arabic only will not suffice as we want to translate our cultural message across the world."
With their book soon to be distributed for other students to read and learn from, Al Amiri said her idea of participating in an innovative project for fun has turned into a proud moment.
"To be honest, I'm still surprised that we won, and lots of people will be reading our book is a very happy moment. Chronicling part of Sheikh Zayed's life like this was a learning curve for me, working with the National Archives. So I'm glad now that other people can learn more about him and his journey."
The '100 Books for Zayed' project (announced at last year's SIBF and launched earlier this year) aims to enrich 100 school libraries with historical and national books, plus 100 other schools with the wise words of the late Sheikh Zayed.