Dubai’s young minds emerge as budding authors amid Covid-19 outbreak

Dubai - Students, who call Dubai their home, let their creative juices flow.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 15 Dec 2020, 10:40 AM

A few students from Dubai’s schools have made good use of their downtime following the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-induced restrictions and penned their reflections to emerge as budding authors.

Take the case of Mikhayl Harchandani (10), an Indian national, who is revelling in his new-found role as a budding author.


Mikhayl showed a keen interest in writing from a tender age and realised his cherished dream of becoming a published author. He is also an avid green enthusiast. He always wanted to spread awareness about deforestation, which has led to the shrinking natural habitat of orangutans, the great apes that are native to Indonesia and Malaysia in south-east Asia.

The burning topic is close to Mikhayl’s heart. He spun a tragic tale of a baby orangutan, who lost its mother because of the deforestation.


Mikhayl reminisced how he hit upon the plot during the Covid-19 pandemic in Dubai, where schools opted for online classes in a bid to contain the spread of the contagion.

“I joined a workshop called Young Author Academy during summer. The workshop helped me to work out the plot structure. The book, titled, ‘The Plight of the Baby Orangutan’, was published in October and is available on Amazon. I hope to reach out to all readers -- especially young people -- to spread awareness about what’s happening to these hapless animals. Children, aged between five and 12 years, are my target audience. However, it’s a universal book, which sheds light on a grave ecological crisis that confronts our world.”

Mikhayl is bubbling with another idea and toying with the concept to write his second book. “My upcoming second book will be in collaboration with my elder brother, Arhan. It will be science fiction (sci-fi). The working title of our next book is ‘Cool Weapons and How to Get Them,” said Mikhayl, a student of Jess English Speaking School (JESS) Jumeirah.

Diaco Taaeb is another budding author and a Grade V student of Gems Metropole, whose creative talents came to the fore amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Diaco, a Canadian national, has penned “Little Birds’ during his “homebound days because of the raging viral outbreak”.

He hit upon the concept when he “noticed how much my little brother liked to be read and bookstores were closed at that time because of the pandemic”.

His brother’s penchant for reading triggered his creative juices. “I thought how incredible it would be if I could write my own book and read it to him. That was the beginning of my journey as an author. Now, I want to develop it into a series. An animal will be the protagonist in my tales,” he added.

However, Diaco has had his fair share of challenges as an author.

“I started working on various drafts of the book with the illustrator till I was satisfied with the output that matched my expectations. Later, we approached a publisher, who helped us sell the book on e-commerce platforms such as Apple Books, Amazon, Rakuten etc. Initially, we published it as an e-book because of the Covid-19-induced restrictions for a physical copy. The strategy worked out well in the end,” he recounted.

Shradha Sujeeth, an Indian national and a Grade VII student of GEMS Modern Academy, writes with effortless ease, thanks to her father, who has been encouraging her to read since her tender age.

Shradha’s bookworm habit came good during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I was concerned that people around the world were only talking about the impact of the contagion on adults and businesses and nobody was thinking about the children. This made me write a book called ‘Violet and the Nasty Virus’ that dwells on our anxieties and feelings amid the healthcare emergency. How are other children and my peers coping with the pandemic?” a pertinent question she has raised through her maiden published book.

The book is a poignant reflection on how children desperately missed school, their desire to feel liberated and the longing to go out and play with friends.

She found a creative way out to purge “her feelings”.

She said: “I created a superhero, who has a solution to all crises. My school (GEMS Modern Academy) also supported and encouraged me in this direction. Earlier, I had also attended a youth programme that honed my writing skills, which were reflected in my creative outpouring.”

Top Stories

Diaco, a Canadian national, has penned  'Little Birds’ during his 'homebound days because of the raging viral outbreak'.
Diaco, a Canadian national, has penned 'Little Birds’ during his 'homebound days because of the raging viral outbreak'.
Shradha Sujeeth, an Indian national and a Grade VII student of GEMS Modern Academy, wrote a book called ‘Violet and the Nasty Virus’ that dwells on our anxieties and feelings amid the healthcare emergency.
Shradha Sujeeth, an Indian national and a Grade VII student of GEMS Modern Academy, wrote a book called ‘Violet and the Nasty Virus’ that dwells on our anxieties and feelings amid the healthcare emergency.


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