King Faisal Specialist Hospital Launches Children’s Books Promoting Health Awareness

King Faisal Specialist Hospital Launches Children’s Books Promoting Health Awareness

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When Dawn Leslie, arrived in Saudi Arabia nearly eight years ago to
work at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in
Riyadh, little could she have imagined that her new home would
provide such inspiration for her to write a series of books for children
to help those growing up in the Kingdom to be more aware of their

Speaking to Arabia Now from Riyadh, Dawn said, “Very soon after my
arrival I recognized a profound need for children’s educational health
content. Prior to moving to Saudi Arabia, I had published two book
series in Canada; totaling 150,000 books. I was, and still am deeply
committed to the idea of a health curriculum in schools and I hoped to
duplicate my Canadian model here. I now have a total of 30 books
completed, which comprise a comprehensive health library and all
have been translated into Arabic.”

That’s good news for thousands of children who are waiting for a new
story to read. While working at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and
Research Center, Miss Leslie soon became aware of the rise of type II
diabetes and other obesity-related issues in children. Saudi Arabia also
tops many lists for traffic fatalities, and smoking-related illness is a
huge concern.

So when she wasn’t working on the wards, or dealing with various
pediatric departments, Miss Leslie put her pen to paper, and started
writing. During her interview with Arabia Now, Miss Leslie explained,
“I’m a huge proponent of the idea that children can be taught almost
anything provided the information is delivered in an age-appropriate
language, and my books are based on that concept. For each topic, I
take accurate medical information and wrap the message in an
entertaining story about a character that is experiencing the condition.
I dub this style as ‘info-fiction’ and find it to be a very effective way of
teaching. Included in each book is a section for adults called ‘Stuff for
Grown-Ups;’ a simple guide to signs, symptoms and treatment options
which provides another learning dimension for families. Both Saudi
children and their parents can benefit from this form of education.”

Speaking to Arabia Now about her Arabic book launch of 6,000 books
to the pediatric patients of King Faisal Specialist Hospital on November
14th, World Diabetes Day, Dawn Leslie told Arabia Now, “It will be
such an exciting moment and the happy result of a few years of
dedicated energy. I’ve been in the Kingdom since 2010 and working on
this project specifically for the past four years, so you can imagine how
gratifying it will be to finally see my books in the hands of Saudi
children. King Faisal Hospital is an extremely proactive organization
and has fully embraced the notion of preventive health education for
children, so they have been wonderful to partner with in distributing
the books to their patients.”

With titles such as “Run for your Life,” Dawn says she has learned a lot
from children in Saudi Arabia, “Who are like many other kids these
days. They are curious, smart and very tech-savvy. Best of all, they
are perfectly capable of making good decisions regarding their diet,
activity and safety choices. One of the most meaningful ways to make
a difference in the incidence of disease is by educating children and
empowering them to be good stewards of their own health.”

Two key pillars of Saudi Vision 2030, are philanthropy and
entrepreneurship. Miss Leslie’s children’s books certainly fit into those
areas. During her interview with Arabia Now, Miss Leslie explained
why. “I’ve loved spending these years in Saudi Arabia and feel very
closely connected to both the land and the people. This is a wonderful
and fascinating time to be in this region of the world and I feel blessed
to not only be witnessing these impactful changes, but actually be
playing a small part in helping to improve lives through health and

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