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The Jasmine Sneeze


Nadine Kaadan
Age 5-7 years

Haroun the cat is content with his life in Damascus. He only has one problem, he cannot stand the smell of jasmine, and there is a great deal of the stuff in his city. People love it. Haroun hatches a plan to mask the scent with some of his own favourite smelly things. Little does he realise how dismayed and distracted everyone will be by this, they even forget to give him his favourite treats. Even worse, he appears to have angered the jasmine spirit who seeks revenge by casting a spell on him so that jasmine starts growing out of his nose and he can’t stop sneezing.  Things are going from bad to worse for Haroun, until he eventually realises living with jasmine in the city is the better option.

The Jasmine Sneeze is an enjoyable story told with humour and a touch of magic. A richly illustrated picturebook which evokes a sense of the sights, smells and culture of this ancient Syrian city providing, in the current context, a valuable alternative perspective. 


Share the story

Watch the story read aloud by the author

Read aloud

Read the story aloud to your child taking time to talk about what is happening in the story and the illustrations.

Join in
Read the story again, this time leaving spaces for children to join in with the repeated phrases.

Talk about the book
Encourage your child to tell the story in their own words using the illustrations to help them.
◼︎Talk about Haroun and his feelings at different points in the story
◼︎Talk about favourite smells and least favourite smells together
◼︎ Share your favourite parts of the story
◼︎Talk about any puzzles your child may have

Things to make and do

Go on a scent walk
Go on a scent walk in a park, garden, wood or seaside talking about what you notice as you do

Make a scented garden
Make a scented garden together, planting mint, lavender or honeysuckle or other plants with distinct  aromas

Draw a picture
Draw a picture of Haroun and the Jasmine Fairy.

What might they say to each other if they met?

Design a tiling pattern
Look back through the book together and spot all the patterns for example see the end papers and the depictions of courtyards and covers.

Find out more

Read the information at the back of the book from the author about Jasmine and its importance in Damascus.

Find Damascus on a map or globe and have a look at this information together Syria (

Find out more about the book’s creator Nadine Kaadan

Read another book written and illustrated by Nadine Kaadan Tomorrow
Visit our activity page

See also:

A Child Like You written by Na’ima B Roberts

Saving Stella written by Bassel Abou Fakher and Deborah Blumenthal