Saeed Rashed AlMheiri was only two when his mother picked up the classic bedtime story Goodnight Moon and started reading it to him.
Within two years, he put pen to paper with guidance from his mother and sister.
At the age of four years and 218 days, the Emirati boy from Al Ain set a Guinness World Record for the youngest person to publish a book.
The Al Ain Academy pupil published The Elephant Saeed and the Bear on March 9 and he has sold more than 1,000 copies.
“My book teaches children how to be kind,” said Saeed as he turned the cover page and pointed at the animal drawings.
“The story is about an elephant who wanted to have a picnic on a mountain. He met a polar bear who instead of eating the elephant chooses to become his friend.”
Books are his best friend, but Saeed is also very fond of numbers and robotics. He often creates his own interactive stories and animations using Scratch, a free programming language.
“I love reading numbers, Alphablocks and Arabic,” he adds. “When I grow up, I want to be a scientist and a superhero to save the Earth.”
Saeed isn’t the only Guinness record holder in the family.
At the age of seven, his sister AlDhabi held the title of the world’s youngest female author to publish a bilingual book.
On March 9, she received the official certificate for being the youngest female author to publish a bilingual book series at the age of eight years and 239 days.
Written in English and Arabic, her books titled I had an idea and Here was the beginning summarise her journey of establishing a children-focused publishing house.
The Grade 4 pupil at Al Ain Academy hopes to inspire other children to read and write stories.
“I want to tell children that they can be whatever they want to be if they try hard and read what they like in order to develop their minds,” she said.
AlDhabi is currently writing a new book and has the draft copy ready. It uses augmented reality and features QR codes.
“When I just scan the QR codes, the experience becomes more interactive,” AlDhabi said as she scanned a code with her mobile phone and a video of a bacteria popped up.
“The traditional way of learning is boring for some children. So, I think if we could just use augmented reality, it could make a big difference to readers.”
AlDhabi was seven months old when her mother began reading bedtime stories to her.
“I realised that whenever I read a book to her, her eyes would respond with enthusiasm,” said her mother Mouza AlDarmaki, an artist and autism specialist.
“She could understand but not articulate in words.”
When AlDhabi turned two, her mother started using phonics and helped her decode unfamiliar words by sounding them out.
“At the age of three, I remember we were on a bed and she started to spell out words. That moment I knew that AlDhabi is grasping the knowledge and I felt so proud,” Ms AlDarmaki said.
With help from her parents, AlDhabi launched Rainbow Chimney, a bookstore and publishing platform that sells everything from children’s books to toys.
“We help children develop reading and writing [skills] at a really young age. I named my bookshop Rainbow Chimney because I love rainbows and I love the song ‘Chim Chimney’ from Mary Poppins,” AlDhabi said.
The website has a dedicated section for people of determination. AlDhabi wants to keep the platform inclusive and help all children, especially those with special needs.
AlDhabi’s favourite book series is Mary Poppins featuring a magical nanny who spreads happiness in the lives of children.
“Mary Poppins always says something that I never forget: anything is possible, even the impossible. So, for example, getting a Guinness World Record.”