Video: In world first, Sheikh Mohammed's new children's book launched from space

The book titled ‘The Journey From the Desert to the Stars’ was revealed by UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi on board ISS and will hit bookstores by September 18


Kirstin Bernabe


Angel Tesorero


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Photo: X
Photo: X

Published: Fri 1 Sep 2023, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Sep 2023, 5:45 PM

Dubai on Friday announced the launch of a new children's book written by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

In a world first, the book — titled The Journey From the Desert to the Stars — was launched right in space, revealed by no other than UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, before concluding his historic six-month mission at the orbital laboratory.

It will be available at bookstores by September 18.

Right from the desert of Dubai, an e-copy of the book made it all the way to the International Space Station (ISS). AlNeyadi shared a snippet of it in a video he shared on X.

"It's a wonderful book that cultivates in the hearts of our children the love for the impossible and the making of the bright future of our country," AlNeyadi wrote in a heartfelt post.

Sheikh Mohammed's book features five stories chronicling the UAE's epic journey since 1971, guided by the ambition of the country's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“It contains inspiring stories from the life of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum when he was young, as narrated in an engaging style for children in the UAE and around the world,” AlNeyadi said in the two-minute video he shared on X.

“I am honoured to be part of those contributing to its (Zayed’s dream) realisation,” he added.

Floating inside the orbital laboratory's 360-degree view bay window called the Cupola, the astronaut showed the e-copy cover of the book and read an excerpt.

Choosing a story on Hope Probe, the first interplanetary Arab mission to Mars, AlNeyadi narrated:

"My (Sheikh Mohammed) father (Sheikh Rashid) taught me a lot about the desert when I was young, how to live in it. He instilled in me the skills of survival in the desert, coexisting with its wildlife, its camels, and other animals in its cold and heat, and navigating by the stars in its skies.

“And now that we have reached space, I wonder, did I ever imagine in my childhood, as I gazed at the stars with my father on desert nights, that one day we would reach Mars?

“In 1996, Sheikh Zayed, may he rest in peace, met with Nasa experts, and this was his ambition. Today, the children of Zayed have fulfilled the dream and honoured the legacy of the founding leader.

“In 2020, my brother, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, signed the last piece of the Hope Probe's structure, bearing the phrase 'The power of Hope shortens the distance between Earth and the sky.'

“Today, we celebrate the return of the UAE's astronaut and the longest space mission in Arab history, Sultan Saif Al Neyadi. It's a celebration of the fruit of the work of Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid, may they rest in peace, in building humanity, to show the world that 'impossible' is not in the vocabulary of the UAE and its people."

UAE landmark events

Mona Al Marri, Director General of Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), said the book weaves together significant moments from Sheikh Mohammed's life with landmark events in the history of the UAE.

“‘The Journey From the Desert to the Stars’ provides young readers with a deep understanding of His Highness’s values such as loyalty, belonging and service to the nation. It also illustrates how a vision can be transformed into national success and inspire generations of citizens to strive for excellence,” she added.

Al Marri noted the book's unveiling aboard the ISS is a tribute to the realisation of the vision for space exploration laid down by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed.

She also thanked the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Al Neyadi for facilitating the launch of the book from the ISS. She said MBRSC has played a vital role in making the UAE's space ambitions a reality and commended the contributions of Emiratis to the global space sector.

Publisher and artists

The book was published by local publishing house Al Hudhud, a member of ‘Proudly from Dubai’, a network of Dubai-born businesses created by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of GDMO.

The book features illustrations by Emirati artists Ali Kashwani and Ahmed Al Mansouri.

The five captivating stories in ‘The Journey From the Desert to the Stars’ include ‘The Northern Tent’, which narrates the circumstances surrounding the UAE's foundation in 1971. ‘My First Journey’ recounts Sheikh Mohammed’s first visit to London with his father, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed, and how this experience inspired his involvement in the establishment of international airports and Emirates Airline.

In ‘The Secrets of the Sea’, Sheikh Mohammed speaks about his deep connection with the sea, which inspired the launch of Dubai’s ports and DP World.

Other stories include ‘First Place’, in which Sheikh Mohammed speaks about Burj Khalifa and the passion instilled in him by his father to be the best. ‘My First Teacher’ reflects on his profound connection with the sky and stars. His contemplation on whether Emiratis would ever venture into space became a reality with the successful launch of the UAE’s ambitious space missions, including the groundbreaking Hope Probe.


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