The Jasmine Sneeze

Written and illustrated by Nadine Kaadan


*Outside In World’s BOOK OF THE MONTH*

*Book Riot’s 10 Bookish Gifts for and from Syria*

Haroun, the cat, likes nothing better than to spend his days sleeping in the sunlit courtyards of Damascus. But one thing always ruins his sleep: jasmine! Haroun can’t stand the sweet-scented flowers. Their pollen sends him into fits of sneezes! So one day, Haroun hatches a plan to fix the problem. But little does he know that in doing so he deeply angers the Jasmine Spirit who plans her revenge in her own crafty and hilarious way. A beautifully illustrated and enormously entertaining story by award-winning Syrian author/illustrator, Nadine Kaadan, that sheds a welcome light onto Syria’s long and proud cultural heritage in a period of history marred by war.


Take a deep breath of The Jasmine Sneeze and you'll be transported to one of the world's most beautiful cities. There, you'll get caught up in Damascus' dense colours and patterns, as well as its light-hearted, sweet-smelling humour. A joy!– Marcia Lynx Qualey, author of popular blog ArabLit

'The Jasmine Sneeze is magically drawn and written by the brilliant Nadine Kaadan, capturing the true essence of Damascus through its mystical relationship with two of its longest standing residents, cats and jasmine. The smile of Damascus children is still there, still wide and gleaming, still visible to the rest of the world, despite all that's happening in the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth.' – Sami Moubayed, The Damascus History Foundation

'A story of thoughtfulness, The Jasmine Sneeze is a delightful children’s book that manages to capture perfectly what the Jasmine means to the people of Damascus. Children will be captured by the cheeky portrayal of Haroun, and those too young to read will be mesmerised by his antics.' – Noor AhmedMiddle East Monitor

'The Jasmine Sneeze is a funny, magical tale set in Damascus whose conclusion gently suggests that there is room for us all in this world and that tolerance will triumph ultimately. Really lovely book with scope for lots of rereadings!' – Guardian Witness

'The Jasmine Sneeze is and enjoyable story told with humour and a touch of magic. A richly illustrated picturebook which evokes a sense of the sights, smells and culture of this ancient Syrian city providing, in the current context, a valuable alternative perspective.' – Sue McGonigle, Books for Keeps

'Kaadan has the wonderful ability to weave her gorgeous watercolour illustrations and traditional aspects of Syrian life into a whimsical children’s story that captures the essence of her hometown of Damascus.' – R. SikoraOrient News

'This enchanting story and delectable illustrations with their rich swirling colours and patterns on every page demonstrates Syria's long and proud cultural heritage at a time when it has been marred by five years of war.' Outside In World

'The Jasmine Sneeze is a fantastically vibrant read which takes the reader through a world of senses, accompanied by a comical cat… I haven’t read such a satisfying picture book in a while.'  Evie IoannidiNot Now, Adulthood

'This is Kaadan’s first English-language picture book as author and illustrator. I love that she has written a story about a region that currently few of us will visit, that presents a universal problem and that highlights everyday features that a child would care about, regardless of where he or she lives. By choosing a non-human main character, Kaadan more easily fosters empathy and encourages readers to focus on the similarities of the situation rather than on what’s different about life in Haroun’s Damascus.' – Patricia Nozell, Wander, Ponder, Write 

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