Thursday, February 09, 2023 | Rajab 17, 1444 H
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Any one game for Al Hawalees?

Where sand dunes and palm trees surround an exotic Oman, kids play ‘Al Hawalees’ which is closely related to Warri, the board game played in Haiti. But instead of a board with 6 holes Oman’s board has seven holes and 4 rows. Players complete the same steps as with Warri until one of the players has all of his opponent’s stones. Who wants to play Al Hawalees, with me?

Al Hawalees is a traditional and the oldest game for time pass played by children to fishermen in the Sultanate of Oman.

The game and the content above finds mention Nicole Tiyana Brewer’s new book, An ABC Guide to Children’s Games, which inspires children to learn about their peers from around the world.

This nonfiction for juveniles comes with a travel sub-genre and is filled with colourful displays of children playing fun and interesting games from countries A to Z like ‘A’ for Australia, where kangaroos roam far and wide and ‘B’ for tropical Brazil.

Nicole is an English Language Lecturer, University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Nizwa, who has authored the 34-page book ideal for children aged 8-12.

Illustrations are by Mariia Luzina from the war ravaged city of Kryvyj Rih, Ukraine.

The pair came together online and succeeded in bringing out the book and wanted to inspire them to learn about kids from around the world.

Nicole is also a freelance travel writer who has done the content while Mariia has helped bring not only the games but the stunning settings to life from around the globe.

Says Nicole, “I had the idea after watching the Korean series ‘Squid Games’ on Netflix to focus on games and came out with the book which focuses on traditional game aspects.”

Ryan and Nicholas Norman, Nicole’s nephews, were her main inspiration and the book is dedicated to them.

“One has to allow your child to get lost in wonder while learning about kids from fascinating cultures, which in turn will hopefully inspire them to experience the vast globe for themselves in the future,” she explains.

She mostly researched online and through interviews with people from various countries about popular children’s games in certain countries. It took her around 7-8 months to complete the book.

Nicole continues to inspire adults and children alike to trot the globe. She has travelled to 50 countries and lived in South Africa, Germany and South Korea. She has a zest for the expatriate lifestyle and a goal of inspiring children to see the world.

She has also authored ‘A Guide to Landing an English Teaching Job Abroad’ and is co-founder of the ‘I Luv 2 Globe Trot’ travel site and community.

Mariia dedicates the book to all Ukrainians who have suffered because of the war with Russia.

From a very young age she loved to draw, so much that she went to an art school when she was still a child. For many years, though she was passionate about art, she considered drawing just a hobby. When Mariia was 20, her best friend encouraged her to become an illustrator for children’s books and has never looked back

At the age of 15, she immigrated to Italy, to live with her mother, where she obtained a degree in Political Science at The ‘L’Orientale University.

Nicole, who is presently on summer vacation in the US, has been a vendor at festivals and events in New Orleans and Atlanta to promote her book.

She has also managed to be a guest on several podcasts and reached out to various magazines and outlets for feature opportunities around the world. She also posed at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Georgia with the Omani flag and the book.

Nicole is planning a launch and signing event in Muscat on September 10 at Avenues Grand Mall.

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