Books Middle Eastern Literature Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Learning about the Learned “Ibn Sina” and his Amazing Discoveries


Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

I purchased this picturebook biography a year ago as part of our research project, and have been waiting for the perfect moment to feature it. I am glad I now have an excuse to share and highlight its beauty.

The Amazing Discoveries Of Ibn Sina

Written by: Fatima Sharafeddine Pictures by: Intelaq Mohammed Ali
Published by: Groundwood Books House of Anansi Press, 2013.
ISBN: 1554987105 (ISBN13: 9781554987108)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I did not know who this Persian philosopher, scientist, and physician was until I read this book. A veritable polymath and “genius of the Islamic Golden Age (c.622-c.1258)” (as seen in the Author’s Note), the reader is taken into a journey of Ibn Sina (also known as Avicenna)’s life.

While born in Persia, Ibn Sina’s learning journey began in Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan), when his father was appointed governor. He had the best scientists and philosophers as mentors, and he also learned Persian poetry and memorized the Qur’an.

My geeky heart was filled to the brim as I see so many images of Ibn Sina writing on scrolls, going through huge libraries, and devoting his entire life to the pursuit of scholarly work. The book is also written in the first person, as the author, Fatima Sharafeddine, envisions how Ibn Sina would most likely share his own life story, as he contributed to the fields of medicine, architecture, meteorology among others.

In the Author’s Note, Fatima explains why it is important for her to write this story:

It is essential, in my opinion, for new generations of children to be introduced to such historical figures, especially since school curriculums in most parts of the world do not include them.

If we are truly serious in exposing more children to diverse literature, do introduce them to this lovely book. I also found this short documentary on Ibn Sina’s life on Youtube. Enjoy!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Learning about the Learned “Ibn Sina” and his Amazing Discoveries

  1. lindabaie

    Hi Myra, I have this book noted, must have seen it somewhere else, too. We have numerous bios of scientists/learners from long ago, but not this one. Thanks!


  2. I like how your themes forces you to seek out books you normally wouldn’t encounter. And then to find a book that speaks to you while at it is a plus!


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