Giselle Onanian: Creating Books For Expat Children

Books are one of the best sources for learning, and have been there as a learning tool for generations before us.

Books are essential as they possess immense knowledge, with each line and page capturing different emotions and feelings.

With a wide variety of books available, from educational to fiction to fantasy, all books tell stories with lessons and insights to learn from.

Giselle Onanian, an author and mum of two children, has used the power of books to inspire the younger generation.

As an expat herself, she has set out to explain to expat children through her book series, concepts like being away from family and finding a new home in a different country, knowing it will not be a permanent home.

Giselle started writing the Alfie & Oak series to help her kids, as well as other parents, navigate these difficult questions easily and interestingly through storytelling.

The stories follow a little boy named Alfie and his sidekick dog, Oak, as they go through the expat journey.

With three books in the series, the first book covers Alfie and his family moving to a new country, the second is about wanting to meet his grandparents, and the third book is about Alfie going back to school and finding that his friend is missing.

Giselle Onanian said, "I wanted to create books in which my son can recognise himself, but also having grown up an expat child and now raising two, I wanted books that can relate to them and that is how the series started."

While reading books to her son every night, Giselle was inspired to write books, and she took inspiration from her journey and wrote about something that many expats can relate to, as there are not many books about the life of an expat. 

Moving to a new country can be difficult, especially for children and the first book covers Alfie's dad getting a new job and having to move countries. The book highlights that "as long as we are all together, we can make anywhere our home."

Similar to the first book, the second focuses on being away from family and only getting to see them on special occasions and on the holidays rather than all the time.

The third book, which will be released in October, has Alfie going to school and realising that his friend and their family have left the country.

Giselle Onanian added, "Tackling these conversations while children are young helps in dealing with the issues and helps process it rather than them growing up and having built up emotions and having to deal with it when they are older."

Giselle also has plans for more books in the pipeline, which will target living in a multicultural country and learning about new cultures, as well as expresses possibilities for writing books targeted at older kids.

The book is priced at Dhs 35, with the first two books now available on The Dreamwork Collective website.

Follow Giselle Onanian on Instagram to stay updated on the series.

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