Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press’ (HBKU Press) newly released children’s book, The Firefly is a finalist in the Children’s Picture Book (illustrative six years and above) category of the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
The book is written by first-time Qatari children’s author, Ameera H al-Naemi.
“We are extremely proud to be able to provide a publishing platform that recognises the literary value and important messages of our books and authors from around the world,” explained Bachar Chebaro, executive director of HBKU Press. “This type of recognition is sure to increase a book’s visibility and readership internationally and helps HBKU Press participate in cross-cultural communications in a global context.”
The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the largest international awards programme for indie authors and independent publishers. Now in its 14th year of operation, the award was established to honour the most exceptional independent books published each year across 70 different categories. The award is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group in co-operation with Marilyn Allen of Allen O’Shea Literary Agency.
The Firefly was selected as a finalist because it successfully highlights the selflessness of charity to children, teaching them an important lesson on how to positively contribute, even in the smallest way, to the global community.
The story follows Ibraheem, a young boy who wants for nothing in his life as his own little corner of the world is safe and sound and filled with the love of his two parents.
His only heartache comes from his inability to understand his parent’s benevolent charity work. Putting his own needs before others, Ibraheem urges his mother to stay with him instead of travelling the world to help others and spending time away from him. He does not believe that a person can singlehandedly make a difference, and would rather enjoy being in his mother’s presence all the time at home. But, through the light of a firefly, Ibraheem comes to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, small acts of charity do make a difference in the world.
Al-Naemi was inspired to write this book through her own experience working with many international humanitarian organisations to bring about invaluable change.
“To me, fireflies have come to represent a small but significant spring of light and hope,” explains al-Naemi when asked about her inspiration for the story. “In The Firefly, they help get Ibraheem’s mission back on track with little more than their own light. My hope is that we, too, can become sources of light in the sense that we can help energise, guide and lead our communities.” Nico Yanopulos, the Greek artist behind the book’s illustrations, was instrumental in depicting the powerful text through evocative illustrations.
“Illustrating The Firefly was my first co-operation with HBKU Press and I feel so happy and blessed that it has been recognised for an award,” said Yanopulos.
The illustrations complement the text in a way that depicts the emotional journey of the protagonist’s personal growth.
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