As the UAE is preparing to launch the Hope probe to Mars, the Kalima Reading Club’s ‘We Read for Children’ initiative will be starting virtual reading sessions dedicated to the solar system and outer space.

The virtual sessions will be in Arabic and featured on Kalima’s social channels at 5 p.m. every Friday in July.

The line-up includes Don’t Follow Me by Eun Hong Jung, read by Dr Mishkan Mohammed Al Awar, Director of the Research and Studies Centre at the Dubai Police Academy; A Planetary Adventure by Hye-young Lee, read by Diana Al Sindy, an Iraqi engineer; and A Journey to Planets and Stars by Seung-Yoon Kang, read by Mezna Najeeb, an Emirati student and the winner of the 2019 Arab Reading Challenge.

Launched in 2007, Kalima is an ambitious initiative by the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, that aims to revive the translation movement in the Arab world. By reading children’s books about outer space, it hopes to support the efforts of the UAE and its national space programme.

The first-of-its-kind mission to Mars from the Arab world, the Hope probe was built by over 150 Emirati scientists, researchers and engineers, and is expected to reach the planet’s orbit in 2021 to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of the Union. It is intended to be the first to provide a complete picture of Mars’ atmosphere and answer critical questions about the planet.

The mission was scheduled for launch on Wednesday, 15 July, from Japan; however, it has been delayed due to foul weather conditions. The Mars Mission’s launch window extends till 3 August 2020.

You can also read about the history and evolution of the UAE’s space programme, the Hope probe and future missions in our book, The Race to Space: The Story Behind the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, the Home of the UAE National Space Programme.