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Aisha’s Pearl

When Aisha finds something small, round and shiny, she can’t wait to show her family. But they’re all too busy – except for Grandfather. He knows it’s a very special discovery. Soon, Grandfather’s old stories about Aisha’s new treasure will take her deep into her very own adventure…

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About the Authors


Julia Johnson has read stories on radio and TV, narrated audiobooks, run drama workshops for young people and enjoys sharing her books through workshops and events for children.

A thirst for adventure brought Julia and her architect husband Brian to Dubai from the UK more than forty years ago, long before the skyscrapers and smart hotels and fancy shopping malls. She was inspired to write her first story by the fascinating past, ancient culture and traditions of the UAE and Oman. Published in 2003, The Pearl Driver is now read in primary schools – in English and Arabic – throughout the Gulf. Many more titles followed, including The Pearl Driver’s Son, which was included in the UAE Ministry of Education’s ‘Reading for Pleasure’ programme 2021.

Among other successes, Julia has won the Best International Children’s Book award at the Sharjah International Book Fair twice, with The Turtle Secret in 2014 and The Secret of The Cave in 2019. The Leopard Boy was awarded a Kirkus star in America, and Michael Morpurgo called it ‘A beautiful story, a wise and wonderfully told tale’.


Maitha Al Khayat is an Emirati children’s author and illustrator with over 175 publications; some translated into English, Turkish and Italian. She delights children with her quirky yet cultural stories through interactive storytelling and workshops.

Her picture book My Own Special Way was awarded best children’s book at the Children’s Forum in Riyadh, in 2011, and was also translated into English and Turkish. It was shortlisted for best book in translation for Marsh Awards 2013. Her other book Turn Off The Lights was awarded best children’s book at the Publisher’s Association in Sharjah in 2016. Father’s Date Palm Trees which featured her illustrations was shortlisted for best picture book at the Zayed Book Award in 2020. Her recent picture book Grandma Moudy Fashionista is also translated into Italian. Maitha has written for children’s TV shows such as Iftah Ya Simsim, Sesame Street and Hamdoon, an Emirati animated show.

Maitha enjoys reading picture books to children and her three cats.

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