Searching For Suhail – Saar van de Woestijne

This review is part of a series I’m doing about different Advent/Christmas books and resources. Some are advent activity books/packs to do with children, advent readings or Christmassy books.

Searching For Suhail is a family devotional for all the glitter and glue lovers. This one is special in many ways, not least as it’s originally in Dutch, but translated into English. Searching For Suhail is a story set in the Arabian Peninsula. The main characters, Salem and Nura, are two children living in a closed Islamic country.

Saar, a pseudonym for the author, has written an engaging story as well as thought of lots of activities. Each day, the story continues and you can add houses and buildings to the village. The download has the story as well as 3d models you can colour and build, so you can make Salem and Nura’s village.

Salem and Nura love the stars, especially the one star, Suhail. They watch the stars, knowing their names, but Suhail means a turning of the seasons, and it appears in the morning. One morning, Salem spots a car with foreigners in their village. They are secretly leaving white bags on door handles of the houses. Salem spots the book inside, and when he gets home, he finds the bookmark that was in the bag as well. Soon after he meets Mark, a mission kid.

Searching For Suhail is Salem and Nura’s story of how their ancestors were always watching the stars, advising the king. No spoilers, as always, but that’s hard this time! The grandfather is a wonderful character, probably my favourite. He writes poems and tells stories. Everyone needs grandfathers like that!

Searching for Suhail is a beautiful and unique Advent story. It’s different, as it’s set in the Middle East. It’s designed to help children understand different cultures, and Saar has done a great job with that. It makes the story interesting, even for older children. Younger children might find some of the stories complex, but they are still enjoyable stories. There is nothing too scary. Grief comes in near the end, so just be aware of that.

Such a wonderful way to learn about other cultures, especially at this time.

Searching For Suhail has lots to say about village life and family dynamics. It’s written by missionaries to the Arabian Peninsula. The story and models can be downloaded after a donation, which will help the work of Ishmael, a charity.

Searching For Suhail has quite short stories, coupled with a Bible passage, making it ideal for reading at the end of a meal together. We, as a family, have that habit, as will Dutch Christian families and probably in America as well. It’s a great way to end a meal together. This can also be done at bedtime or whenever! There are questions included and a psalter/psalm or song that can be used. Of course, any of this can be customised for your family.

Searching For Suhail is very much a Glue&Glitter Advent devotional! You get to build the village with the people. Every day there are things to decorate/colour and cut out. The easiest way to build the village is to use sturdy cardboard for the ground. Such a great way to use up your amazon boxes… You can decorate the village, and add the houses and people. There is a schoolbus and all kinds, which makes the whole village look lovely and alive.

Searching For Suhail was written to share the message of Jesus’ birth and to focus on Christ coming into the world. It aims to also foster compassion for those struggling around the world. And the story is exciting, and varied, which is a bonus. Here is the link: Just be careful as you’re typing it in, the Dutch website address isn’t easy… Scroll down, and you will find the information and links in English. Apparently, there is a prize for those who complete their village and post their picture to the mission on social media! (My kids will be more motivated to get the Glue&Glitter out, knowing there is a prize…).

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