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Archive for the tag “books”

Playgroup: Mamas and Munchkins

Is your toddler getting to the age where they need some other stimulation than home based activities? Do you want your little angel to be able to socialise with other playmates?Mamas and Munchkins is a mother and toddler group based on free play with plenty of toys, outdoor play area, arts and craft activity, book corner, sit and ride zone, singing and story time.

Mama and Munchkins cater for 0-3 years. They are based near Kayal Street, Rawdah and classes take place on Tuesdays from 9:00-11:00.The price is SR30 per session.  Snacks and refreshments for attendees will also be on offer.

For further info, join their Facebook page.




Rozabee – The Art of Being and Doing

Anousha Vakani, our wonderful contributor who has a way with words, has written some of my favourite articles on Jeddah Blog. For this latest blog post, she sits down with life coach Rozana Al-Banawi, to talk about her practice and her thoughts on art, beauty and humans.Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 1.13.35 PM

“I am Rozana Al-Banawi and life is only beginning. Growing up as a teenager, I was curious about ‘change’, and about how our relationship with it is a love/hate one. Life is about change and I assumed as a young girl that it is a given that we all want to improve ourselves for the better, that change is part of our DNA. Little did I know back then that I would be an expert in change and transformation. I like to see my work as an experience that you co-create what you want for yourself. The most fulfilling image is seeing my clients embarking on the first steps of change and transformation, like a caterpillar getting ready to become a cocoon and inevitably a butterfly. Once a client starts that process, there is no turning back.”

What is Rozabee?

Rozana’s practice is aptly named ‘Rozabee’ as a play on both her name and the beauty of being and doing at once. The connotations of her chosen name are more beautifully explained on the homepage of her website, with a note from her and a quoted poem by Khalil Gibran to sum it up. I decided to connect with Rozana and explore her thoughts on art, beauty and humans.

We talked about some important things: about art, beauty, relationships, books and life in general and I thought it would be best to quote her thoughts on each topic, as an insight into her as a person and her philosophy as a life coach.

Rozana’s take on art and beauty:

“God, Allah Almighty, has created a beautiful world for us; beautiful oceans with beautiful sea creatures, of all shapes and colors, of different kinds and species. We find all kinds of purposes within each of them. God created art from day one; we, human beings, are pieces of art, in our exterior and interior worlds. And by art I mean more than the tangible parts. I look at the synchronicity of our lives, the connections that take place and our relationships with almost everything around us (our homes, people, mother earth and our inner selves). It is so intricately simple and sophisticatedly multifaceted.”

On people, connections and relationships:

“With every human being I work with, I see a part of myself in them, whether it’s in the way of thinking, a specific phrase they use, a certain vulnerability they are choosing to show, or a dream that they strive to make happen. I always connect to that. No matter what it is, our inner worlds are very similar. It is like we are the same prototypes.

I also like to look at archetypes with clients, and explore inner energies. We have access to a huge reservoir inside of us, and we only know a little chunk of it. Once we are curious about that world of resources, we find whatever we need: certain energy, a unique vibe or a different voice – we will find it there. All we have to do is create a channel to access it, and by channel I mean the tools that enable us access: such as holding a beginner’s mind, a curious being and a loving graceful soul.

I asked for her favorite quote, and this is what she had to say:

‘I believe that in every stage in our lives, we connect with one quote more than another. For now, I love the quotes that my clients come up with in our sessions. Sometimes they blurt out the wisest things, and that inspires me. When that happens, I usually ask: “Did you hear what you just said?”

Rozana’s favourite books:

“Same with quotes, when I was a young girl, Anne Frank’s Diary was the ‘wow’ book. Then it was Malcolm X. When I started grad school, ‘Broken Open’ helped me grieve some heavy losses that I had to come to terms with. Later, reading Eckart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ made me aware of my ego for the first time in a very conscious way and that opened doors for my inner child healing. After that, Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ started me off on the process of vulnerability and wholeheartedness, and led to my leadership work that I did last year. Now, I am in love with Reinventing Organization’s ‘human consciousness movement’ by Frederick Laloux. Next, I want to immerse myself in ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown, I have a feeling it will create something new for me.”

I summed up with a time capsule question and asked her what she would tell herself ten years from now: “ten years from now?! Gosh, that is a stretch since I am working on living the present moment and being here now. So this is the first thing I would tell myself then. Also, to keep slowing down. If I haven’t had the guts to get that book published or that TV show aired, then I would tell myself: do it now – what have you got to lose? Nothing. My kids are old, I am happy with my life, so just do it for the fun of the process, and mostly for the long term impact that it will bring to the world.”

Rozana can be contacted through her website, email, Instagram or Twitter.

Jeddah Book Swap

The first Book Swap meetup is tonight March 19th from 7-9pm.  The event will be held at the Cultural Exchange Center.


How it Works

Please bring in novels you have finished reading and you can trade them for some “new to you” books for FREE!  Please no textbooks or children’s books and all books must be in English.

The Cultural Exchange Center is near the Turkish Embassy. Click here for the Google map coordinates.

Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed

For a very good cause, obtain your very own signed copy of Reclaim Your Heart, personal insights on breaking free from life’s shackles, by Yasmin Mogahed.

All funds will be used for children with special needs at Hope – for Exceptional Needs.

Hope Centre Yasmin Mogahed book




Know your Riyals from Your Halalas: Riyali Comes to Town.

Riyali Picture

How many times have you walked into a mall here in Jeddah and thought to yourself “Wow, These Saudis have so much money!!” This is often followed by a feeling of inadequacy and general doom. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, we all have these preconceived notions about people in Saudi Arabia being loaded with cash. What we fail to realize is that like all economies, there are different income levels and even though the Kingdom is generally prosperous, there are a lot of people who work very hard to make ends meet. That said, no matter what economic bracket you fall into, there is always a need for knowledge about personal financial planning. This knowledge is even more important when you are a young college students with often  limited cash and many, many temptations (the new iPhone anyone?). Riyali is a program which aims to address this very issue and provides college students with the knowledge and tools to make smarter financial decisions. The program doesn’t claim to magically transform you into the next Warren Buffet but will definitely make you more money savvy.

Riyali, a free program offered by SEDCO Holding ran its pilot in four Jeddah colleges but has now expanded beyond Jeddah to cities like Najran and Riyadh. Starting next month, there would be more sessions across Jeddah, you can join their Facebook page for updates on the sessions. Also, if you want a quick fix while you wait for Riyali to get to your college or institution, you can download the bilingual Riyali pocketbook here. Do take the personality test, it would make you face your financial reality in a not so subtle way. The pocketbook has some very solid and easy-to-follow tips on saving, budgeting and investing.

So, Jeddah peeps if you get a chance to attend the sessions, please do. It might just mean the difference between the life or death of your bank account. As Amr Banaja, the force behind Riyali said “I myself learned a lot of financial lessons the hard way, from losing my business to having to sell my house all because of global buy-outs. I am glad that my children will have a program like Riyali that could help them make smart money decisions early on and not learn it the hard way”.

I could not have said it better myself.

A Tribute to the Father of Urdu

Rohail A. Khan Event Sponsor

Rohail A. Khan – Event Sponsor

Rohail A. Khan, senior banker and finance director, has been living in Saudi Arabia since 1993 and is developing communities through literature, culture and philanthropy. As chief guest of the memorial service of the Father of Urdu, Rohail Khan reports the success and conclusions of the event for Jeddah Blog.

For the first time in Saudi Arabia, a grand event was organized in the memory of Baba-e-Urdu (Father of Urdu), Dr. Moulvi Abdul Haq, to commemorate his 140th birthday and to propagate his message. Jeddah has rarely witnessed such extraordinary enthusiasm and exemplary love for Urdu.

Who was Baba-e-Urdu?

Baba-e-Urdu (1872-1961) was an acclaimed Urdu educator, writer, critic, linguist, lexicographer, editor, compiler, translator, etymologist, biographer and grammarian. He authored more than 20 books on these areas. Having realized the slow demise of the Persian language, Moulvi Abdul Haq devoted his entire life to making Urdu the primary language of the sub-continent and to placing it head-to-head with English and Arabic. He founded and managed Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Urdu language and literature, for 50 years pre-partition. During his migration in 1947, he carried 15,000 rare Urdu books from Delhi to Karachi. He was the moving spirit behind the establishment of the Osmania University in Hyderabad, Deccan, where Urdu is still one of the mediums of instruction. The world’s largest Urdu Translation Centre was established where rare Urdu books and Deccani manuscripts were translated and published. He was also instrumental in setting up the world’s first Islamia College for Women, Lahore in 1939, and Pakistan’s first Urdu College in Karachi (1949). He was the creator of the world’s largest Urdu-English Dictionary (1930) and in 1959 initiated the grand project of compiling a Modern Urdu Dictionary in 22 volumes. This project was completed three years ago under the Urdu Dictionary Board, Pakistan.


The Memorial Event

The memorial event was held at Lasani Restaurant on the evening of 21st November, 2012. The successful event had been organized by the Aalmi Urdu Markaz and welcomed more than 275 guests from all walks of life. Men, women and especially youngsters hailing from assorted nationalities all gathered together to commemorate Baba-e-Urdu’s 140th birthday. Multi-cultural community leaders, social workers, businessmen and literary figures added to the light of the event. The audience were treated to a four-hour literary discussions and poetic recitations and warmly applauded the proceedings.

A very diverse audience commemorating the 140th birthday of the Father of Urdu.

A very diverse audience commemorating the 140th birthday of the Father of Urdu.

The event took off with a short video containing a speech by Baba-e-Urdu and his life story with rare pictures, before the poetry recitals and literary discussions.

On stage from left: V.P. of Aalmi Urdu Markaz, Rohail A. Khan, Hon. Tahseem ul-Haq, President of Aalmi Urdu Markaz and poet Anwar Ansari with the Executive Team from Aalmi Urdu Markaz.

On stage from left: V.P. of Aalmi Urdu Markaz, Rohail A. Khan, Hon. Tahseem ul-Haq, President of Aalmi Urdu Markaz and poet Anwar Ansari with the Executive Team from Aalmi Urdu Markaz.

Chief Guest, Rohail Khan, shared his thoughts on Baba-e-Urdu with the organizers and participants, and offered practical suggestions to promote and protect Urdu.

“Architect and saviour of Urdu language and literature, Baba-e-Urdu, Dr. Moulvi Abdul Haq’s lifetime services to protect and promote Urdu are spread over 75 years. He proved a Prophet of Urdu and his message must be adequately propagated for the benefit of current and future generations. Le us not forget that Urdu, 4th largest language, is spoken by over 100 million people across 5 continents.”

7 Steps to Promote Urdu

Rohail A. Khan suggested seven projects to promote Urdu:

  1. Renew the Anjuman-e-Taraqqi-e-Urdu and propagate its mission across the globe by supporting tertiary local and international Urdu-serving institutions.
  2. Promote the importance of Urdu as a means to enhance our knowledge about Islam.
  3. Build the brand of Urdu world-wide through the proactive use of social media.
  4. Studying Baba-e-Urdu’s works and achievements and spreading his message by establishing Urdu faculties and research chairs at Ivy League Universities for the award of doctorate degrees on Urdu.
  5. Launch new Urdu periodicals, Urdu dictionaries and encyclopaedia.
  6. Identify and promote upcoming Urdu writers and poets.
  7. Launch “Urdu Academy International” as a global think-tank to incubate new ideas and projects to promote and protect Urdu.

The first goal is to launch the cause of making Urdu one of the official languages of Facebook. Rohail Khan can be reached at and on Facebook.

– compiled by Anousha Vakani

Book Vending Machines – a Novel Invention

All kinds of products are sold in vending machines, from umbrellas to vegetables, and ties to flowers.  At a recent visit to the Mall of Arabia, we stumbled upon a completely novel idea  – a book vending machine. It’s the first one we’ve seen in Jeddah, so we promptly set about taking pictures to share with you all.

The book vending machine standing to the left of Centrepoint.

The Logo.

Instructions on how to buy the books.

If you look very closely at the next photo, you might be able to spot our reflections in the glass.

Most of the books were in Arabic, but some were in English.

We think it’s a great idea. It makes books much more accessible, especially in a city where libraries are scarce. Which books would you like to see displayed in these literary stands?

Honey Biscuits

A loveable bear named Zaatar, the search for ingredients for delectable Honey Biscuits and lots of cute animal friends. These are the basic ingredients of the charming children’s book titled ‘Honey Biscuits’ by Hanane Fathallah.

Hanane is a full-time mom and a freelance graphic designer who wrote, illustrated, designed and published Honey Biscuits back in 2007.

Hanane explains, “It is appropriate for all ages, as grownups can read it for their kids (when still young), or – when they are old enough – kids can read it with their friends. I have designed it in a way that the characters have speech bubbles. So, friends can get together, pick a character and read all together. This encourages collective reading: it is fun!”

She goes on to say about the book, “It is a lovingly illustrated and heartwarming tale of a bear named Za3tar, set out to fulfill a legacy passed down by his grandfather: the legacy of the honey biscuits. A charming collection of characters, a funny dialogue and a book for all to enjoy, I hope this story will win your hearts.”

The author is now working on her next book, and has decided to offer Honey Biscuits at a special discounted price for a limited time. One book can be bought for SR 20 or 10 books can be purchased in bulk for SR 175. You can email Hanane at if you would like to place an order.

As a very special gift to Jeddah Blog readers, Hanane has very generously offered to give away 2 signed copies of her book. All you need to do to win your FREE copy is leave a comment answering the following question:

What was your favourite book as a child?

The competition closes on Monday, 23rd January, 2012. Get your entries in as soon as you can, and Good Luck!

– Sabaa Ali

Book Signing Event

Somewhere in the middle of my mind‘ is an English poetry book written by Hasan Eid featuring a group of talented Saudi poets.

The book is divided into two parts:

The first part includes Hasan’s writings in which he expresses his feelings through rhyming poetry regarding various topics that range from religion to drug addiction to his most personal thoughts.

The second part of the book features the writings of 10 Saudi poets who also contributed to the book. These wonderful group of individuals show just how much the Saudi community is blessed with writers who are gifted and talented.

The book is available at Jarir bookstore (All Saudi branches+ Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar branches)

The official book signing of ‘Somewhere in the middle of my mind’ will be on 15 February, 2011 at Bridges bookstore, Jeddah.

Eco Boy Book Signings by Lana Sultan

Lana Sultan with her young readers.

Saudi writer Lana Sultan came up with a novel idea (pun intended) to spread the message of caring for our planet among the young generation. She embarked on a project to write a series of books for children whose central character is Eco Boy, a young boy who becomes a green superhero to save his beloved planet earth.

“The Amazing Adventures of Eco Boy” is a story of a boy who becomes a green superhero. Saddened by the rubbish all around him, Eco Boy transforms his town to save his beloved planet earth.  Lana Sultan says, “The purpose of this book is to spread awareness about living a greener life amongst children in order to engrain certain positive habits at a very young age.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Lana on her upcoming book reading and book signing tour in Jeddah from the 18th to the 30th of December where she will be promoting the concept of going green to children through Volume 2 of “The Amazing Adventures of Eco Boy”. She will have a reading and signing at Little Book

and Enchanted Garden. She will also visit the following schools: Jeddah Knowledge, Dar Al-Hanan, Dar Al-Fikr, Dohat Al-Jazeera, Bear Hugs, and Rose Garden.

In addition to this, she is collaborating with the Young Initiative Group (YIG) to read the books to orphans.

Here is Lana’s upcoming itinery in Jeddah:


22nd December 2010 – Reading & Signing @ “Little Book”, Stars Avenue, Jeddah

23rd December 2010 – Reading & Signing @ “Enchanted Garden”, Jeddah

More information is available on the Eco Boy Books website where you can glean more information about the author, get some great green tips for kids, discover some useful, environment friendly websites and much more.

Now on to the exciting bit for Jeddah Blog readers !

When we got in touch with Lana, she was kind enough to offer a FREE PROMOTIONAL CODE which can be used through iTunes to download a free copy of one of her Apps that will run on iPads, iPhones, and touch iPods to one lucky reader of Jeddah Blog !!

What’s more, Lana herself will choose the winner from all entries, along with Jeddah Blog.

Currently the books are available in the digital world through an interactive application that has both options of reading the book or listening to it. The narration was recorded professionally at DiGiLines Production House in Jeddah.

To win this free App, all you have to do is answer the following question

‘If you were to write about Eco Boy’s new superhero friend. What would his or her name be, and what would be his or her superpower?’

The most interesting and creative answer will be chosen as the winner, and recipient of the free App.

The deadline for this competition is Friday, 24 December 2010 – Good Luck Everyone !!

Everyone’s a Winner !!!

Lana was so impressed by all the entries that she has declared she could not choose a winner, and has very generously decided to award the prize of a free App to ALL participants !!


Bushra Azhar

Sameera Aziz

Dr. Temille

Haris Ali

Basil Mahmud

Naima Rashid

Can you please all get in touch with me on giving me your full name, email address and choose which of the following you would like:

1. Eco Boy 1 – English

2. Eco Boy 1 – Arabic

3. Eco Boy 2 – English

Thank you once again to the participants, and a big thank you to the wonderful Lana Sultan for supporting our blog. Stay tuned for the next competition coming very soon !

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