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Book on children’s games featuring Oman’s ‘Al Hawalees’ launched

11 Sep 2022

Muscat – A book titled An ABC Guide to Children’s Games around the Globe was launched on Saturday at Let’s Read’s library in Oman Avenues Mall.

It marked the third official release of the book following its launch in New Orleans and Atlanta in the United States last month.

The author, Nicole Brewer, is an English language teacher at University of Technology and Applied Sciences (UTAS) in Nizwa. This is her second book, the first titled A Guide to Landing an English Teaching Job Abroad also being self-published.

“Though this is my second book, it is my first children’s book,” she emphasised.

Nicole dedicated the book to her nephews, aged ten and 12. “I wanted to write a book full of representation for children to learn about traditions from different countries from around the world and inspire them to travel and see different places.”

Nicole speaks from experience, having travelled to over 40 countries and lived in Germany, South Africa and South Korea, besides Oman.

The games featured in the book are in alphabetical order starting with country name. “Though the English alphabet has 26 letters, the book has 25 games because there is no country name beginning with the letter ‘X’,” Nicole explained.

Most of the games in the book are traditional, passed on from generation to generation. “When my colleagues at UTAS saw ‘Al Hawalees’ in ‘O is for Oman’, they said they played the game as children and that they learnt it from their grandparents.”

She added, “To make the content interesting, I kept it simple and light reading. But there is background information about all the games.”

At the launch event, she read out the chapter ‘O is for Oman’ on ‘Al Hawalees’, which is similar to ‘Warri’, a board game played in Haiti. Instead of six holes and two rows, the Omani version has seven holes and four rows.

Describing the book at the launch, Jane Jaffer, chairperson and founder of Let’s Read, said, “I haven’t come across a book like this before. The theme of the book is quite unusual. I think it’s a lovely idea, because when children read it, they might try and play those games, too. While learning about children from other countries, they are going learn new games. It’s a win-win situation for all.”

An ABC Guide to Children’s Games around the Globe is available at Let’s Read in Oman Avenues Mall and on Amazon.

(Text and photo by Syed Fasiuddin)

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