Why We Need More Audio Books in Arabic: For Reluctant Readers, Diaspora Arabs, Others

I wrote earlier about the need for Arabic audio books—particularly in encouraging reluctant readers—and Zoe Toft, author of the blog Playing by the Book, sent a few suggestions.

الصندوق (The Box) by the IBBY-award-winning Amal Farah, illustrations by Gustavo Camps, published by Nadhet Masr. It is written in English and Arabic and comes with an audio CD of the story read in both languages. This suggestion comes by way of our author friend Bernadette Simpson (An ABC Escapade Through Egypt). I couldn’t find it on neelwafurat.com, but will keep looking for this one!

Language Lizard has children’s audiobooks in Arabic.   See:  http://www.languagelizard.com/Arabic_s/1824.htm. My note: However, Language Lizard promises to translate into a zillion languages as though translation were changing a tire or swapping out the cover of your phone. I’m not sure the translations will be any good.

Al Kitab (which distributes in the U.S.) has nasheed for young children. This is not quite what I had in mind.

Nope, not much that I’ve found…yet.

But as of last night, I much more enthralled by the idea of audio books in Arabic. Last night, I was exhausted, and decided to use a secret weapon I’d found at the library (we are visiting in the United States). It was an audiobook version of Ramona and Beezus, by Beverly Cleary. I got my six-and-three-quarters-year-old under the covers, popped it into a CD player, and walked away.

It isn’t the same as setting him in front of the television, as audio books use many of the same brain functions as print books. Also, unlike television or a computer game, it didn’t prevent him from sleeping.

If I’d had the rest of the book in print, I think—after the first CD was over—he would’ve picked it up and continued reading to himself. I would love if he could do the same with Arabic audio books. I think Arabic audio books also would help diaspora parents who are, like me at the moment, suffused in English (or Dutch,  or German) and need new ways to entice their child to read Arabic.

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One Response to Why We Need More Audio Books in Arabic: For Reluctant Readers, Diaspora Arabs, Others

  1. Karima says:

    Hi, Love your blog….please check out, if you haven’t already done so, the very charming and thoughtful Lebanese series often referred to as “Magmoo3et el Koosa”, by Sama7 Idris. Published by Dar al Adaab lil Sighar, Beirut. (Ta7t el Sereer, Qissat al Koosa, Om Gedida, Al Bent al Shaqra2 and one about hating bananas whose title I can’t remember). They are hilarious and my daughter loves the very creative collages. Some of the words are pure Lebanese and unfamiliar to us Egyptians, but each book has a glossary at the front and it is no problem to figure out what is meant. I wish there were more of them ! They are aimed at 6 – 10 year olds. The best Arabic children’s books I have seen !

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