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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

'My Little World': a children's book based on the childhood memories of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

The book is a collection of five illustrated short stories based on the early life experiences of the Dubai ruler

A boy with his copy of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai's book 'My Little World' at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Leslie Pableo / The National 
A boy with his copy of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai's book 'My Little World' at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Leslie Pableo / The National 

A pet lion, an injured horse and a lost baby gazelle are among the characters featured in the new children’s book penned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Entitled My Little World, the book is a collection of five illustrated short stories that are based on the early life experiences of the Dubai ruler. The book, which is available in English and Arabic, was launched last month and had its release celebrated at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Friday, February 5.

Festival director Ahlam Bolooki reading the Arabic version of 'My Little World' at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature at InterContentinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. Leslie Pableo / The National 
Festival director Ahlam Bolooki reading the Arabic version of 'My Little World' at the 2021 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature at InterContinental Dubai - Festival City. Leslie Pableo / The National

The stories in My Little World all feature a young Sheikh Mohammed as the protagonist as he overcomes a series of challenges that help him glean valuable life lessons.

One story in the collection, titled My Friend, the Lion tells of how Sheikh Mohammed wakes up in his room one day to find the friendly farm lion standing over him. Wanting to go back to sleep, the young sheikh shows the lion the door and the window but the lion only makes itself more comfortable by his side. After a number of unsuccessful attempts at trying to get the lion out of the room, Sheikh Mohammed realises that the friendly beast is following his every move.

“I move right, he moves right,” Sheikh Mohammed writes. “I step back, he steps back. Where I want him to go, I must go first.”

The young sheikh then jumps out of his bedroom window and, sure enough, the lion leapt after him. In the time it took the lion to circle back around, Sheikh Mohammed jumps back into the room through the window and slammed it shut.

“When solving a problem and it feels like a test, the simplest solution could be the best,” Sheikh Mohammed writes.

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation reading the English version of Shiekh Mohammed's book 'My Little World' at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature at InterContentinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. Leslie Pableo / The National 
Isobel Abulhoul, chief executive and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation reading the English version of Shiekh Mohammed's book 'My Little World' at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature at InterContinental Dubai - Festival City. Leslie Pableo / The National

Another story in the collection My Mother, Like No Other recounts how as a child, Sheikh Mohammed would go out into the desert with his Bedouin mentor Humaid, camping with him and his family for several nights.

“I liked spending my free time watching the wildlife,” he writes. “One day I saw a baby gazelle that was all alone.”

Sheikh Mohammed adds that he remembers learning how gazelles often left their newborns alone during the day before returning to check up on them and keep them safe from bigger animals.

“I sat watching in the distance because I didn’t want to disturb the little gazelle, keeping an eye on it to make sure it was safe,” he writes.

It was nearly sundown and the gazelle’s mother had still not returned. “Where did she go? Why didn’t she come back?” Sheikh Mohammed writes.

The young sheikh carefully walked up to the baby gazelle and scooped it up in his arms, keeping it close. “That’s when an idea popped into my head,” he writes. “This baby needed a mother to take care of it. But who could replace someone so special?”

In that moment, the young sheikh begins to think of his own mother, about how kind and caring she is. “I remembered she cares for baby gazelles, just like this one,” he writes. “Her little herd followed her everywhere. They adored her. And she loved them too.”

Families listening to stories of Sheikh Mohammed's 'My Little World' at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature at InterContentinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. Leslie Pableo / The National 
Families listening to stories of Sheikh Mohammed's 'My Little World'. Leslie Pableo / The National

As Sheikh Mohammed prepared to return home, he decided to take the gazelle with him as a “gift for someone special.”

“I had been in the desert for a few nights and really missed my mother,” she says. “I jumped out of the car to greet her as I handed her the baby gazelle her face lit up with joy. She was so happy.”

Watching her, the young Sheikh Mohammed realised that bringing happiness to the people you love is also a “brilliant way to bring happiness to yourself.”

“Sure enough, the baby gazelle followed my mother everywhere, she cared for it until it was older and stronger and could look after itself. My mother really is one of a kind,” Sheikh Mohammed concludes. “There really is no one like her.”

My Little World is available across bookstores in the UAE

Updated: February 6, 2021 02:50 PM

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