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Nadine Kaadan is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator from Damascus, Syria, now living in London where she completed her Masters in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths University. Her mission is to encourage a reading culture in the Arab world and she has published over 15 books with various publishers. She is simply passionate about her city – Damascus – and its old architecture and loves to draw its courtyards and tell its tales. Her stories sometimes touch on delicate subjects like children with special needs and the ongoing troubled situation in the Arab world. Her picture book Leila, Answer me! won the Anna Lindh award for the best fiction book for children with special needs in 2011, and is now being used to teach the Arabic language at Harvard University and Tufts University. The book was recently featured in the Guardian and described as ‘a badly needed story for young people’. Her latest book Ghadan (‘Tomorrow’) about the daily life of a little boy during the Syrian conflict was positively reviewed in Corriere della Serra, Italy, under the title ‘I drew a dream of peace for Syria’.
You can find out more about Nadine on her website.
Locals know Damascus, the oldest capital city in the world, as the City of Jasmine. The sweet-scented jasmine flowers are a much-loved feature of the city’s courtyards and ancient alleyways and give the city its distinct odor, especially on cool summer nights. As part of their morning ritual, Damascenes will wake and collect fallen jasmine flowers and place the petals on their water fountains so that the smell can be carried all over the house.
Many people in Damascus like to believe that the jasmine tree reacts to and reflects what is happening in their homes and lives, in good times and bad. They often associate the drooping jasmine stems with grieving and loss, and when a member of their family passes, they believe that the jasmine mourns after him or her.
The idea for this story came to me when I thought back on how often my mother used to tell me about her grandmother’s jasmine tree. My mother speaks of how, a day before her grandmother passed away, the jasmine in their courtyard suddenly became harsh and wild, as though in warning that something sad was about to happen. When my mother’s grandmother passed, the jasmine died the day after. My sister, Soudade, and I always thought that this old jasmine tale could inspire a wonderful children’s book someday, and indeed today it has with Lantana’s The Jasmine Sneeze!
Nadine Kaadan, author and illustrator of The Jasmine Sneeze
Author & Illustrator: Nadine Kaadan
Format: Paperback or ebook (ePub for iBooks)
Release date: 11th April 2016
Page number: 32
Age range: 4-8 years old
ISBN (paperback): 978-0-9932253-8-3
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-911373-00-1
Product dimensions: 24cm x 24cm
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