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By: Gareth Jones, Director
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair held a special surprise for AISA this year. Aysha Al Naqbi, an eighth grader, was feted at the fair as her first novel, Blue Moon, was launched to a crowd of press and VIPs. Aysha has attended AISA for five years and loves the emphasis on reading and writing at school. As a gesture of her loyalty to AISA, she extended an invitation to me to attend the launch.
She decided to set her young adult fantasy novel in North Carolina and wrote it in English. It involves the adventures of a teenager named Prim. Why did Aysha set her novel in the U.S.? Why did she write in English? This thirteen-year-old student is the daughter of a diplomat who has held postings all over the world – from Kazakhstan to Manhattan.
Aysha is a thoroughly modern girl. Describing her process for writing the book, she stated, “My family and I were out in a restaurant at Yas Mall. The idea popped into my head and I straightaway put it on my phone. After that, I continued writing whenever I had free time.”
She is very proud of her parents’ involvement in her learning. She said that it was her father who first mentioned getting the work published. She remembers that he said ‘if’ she finished it, and this was a great incentive to her to push through any writing blocks. The book fair launch was a celebration for her. She told The National newspaper of her happiness in achieving this. “I can see the joy on my parents’ faces. They are very proud.”
Aysha is as passionate about reading as she is writing. She advises others to “find a friend to read the book with you. That way you can talk about it.” She and her friends buy copies of the same books and discuss them. She describes them as a “reading family.”