Year of Reading: 10 books for tweens and teens

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Confused about which books to give to your youngsters during the Year of Reading? The National's Rym Ghazal and Zeyna Al Jabri, of Buzoor distribution, have these recommendations for tweens and teens.

Special thanks to Zeyna Al Jabri, of Buzoor distribution, who assisted The National in compiling this list of 50 recommended books for children of different ages to guide parents in the Arab Reading Challenge. For further assistance contact Al Jabri on and check the website


Prince of the Sea (Ameer al bihar) by Abdul Aziz Al Mussalam

Publisher: Kalimat

The story of a poor sailor who meets the Prince of the Sea and gives him his daughter in marriage.

Escape to Mars (Al Horoub ilal mareekh) by Mohamed Khair Al Musally

Publisher: Al Ruwwad

A sci-fi adventure that follows a group of friends as they understand space, science and physics through a trip to Mars.

A Thousand and One Nights (Alf LaiLa Wa LaiLa) by Wafa Tarnowska

Publisher: Kalimat

A collection of stories from the timeless Alf Layla Wa Layla, A Thousand and One Nights, as told by the enchanting Shahrazade, who saved her own life and changed ours through her storytelling gifts.

Juha’s Stories (Hekayat Joha) by Amani Al Ashmawi

Publisher: Dar Al Hadaek

Juha is a comical character of Arab heritage whose lessons are learnt through his mishaps.

Diary of an Ant (Yawmiyat namla) by Diala Arslan

Publisher: Educart

The tale of what it’s like being an ant — the hard work and patience


Ajwan by Noura Noman

Publisher: Nahdet Misr

The UAE’s first full sci-fi novel, Ajwan is the story of a girl who can breathe water and air and rebels against the restrictions imposed on her as the daughter of Emperor Mandan and Empress Mandana, rulers of an underwater world.

Ubar, the Lost City (Obar al madinal mafqouda) by Manal Al Ghadani

Publisher: Kuttab

A fantasy book in which Maya discovers a strange world after she gets lost in the Empty Quarter desert.

Nadim’s Story — Autism (Hekayat Nadim al tawahud) by Sana Ali Harake

Publisher: Asala

The story of Nadim, who struggles with autism.

The Elephant’s Trip (Rihlat feel) by Huda Al Shawa Qadoumi

Publisher: Dar Al Saqi

A historical story about an elephant that arrives as a gift and the adventures that follow.

Kalila and Doumna (Kalila wa Doumna) by Nabiha Mheidly

Publisher: Dar Al Hadaek

The famous Kalila wa Doumna collection of Oriental fables filled with wisdom, adventure and imagination