Arabic Comic-Encyclopedia Author on Why Comics Are Important for Kids

In a recent interview with Now! Lebanon, author of The Encyclopedia of Lebanese Comic Books Henry Matthews explained why he feels comic books are worthwhile:

They made youngsters love to read. Myself and other classmates of mine used to smuggle our comic books to class because our teacher, a grey-haired chisel-faced stern disciplinarian, thought of comic books as less than garbage. He was wrong, of course.

The bold is mine, because I feel we can’t emphasize that enough. Being able to decode letters is one thing, but true literacy means developing a love of reading. If my son and his friends are any indication, comic books can help.

Matthews intends to compile an encyclopedia of Egyptian comics, and later hopes to open a heritage center for Arabic comic books, children’s books, and “recreational publications for adults.”

He’s interested in preserving history, but also has great hopes for the future of Arabic comic books:

We have a chance to create a booming comics industry in Lebanon. We have the will and the talent, whether to produce original work or to translate and publish suitable foreign stories. A lot of new and young talent is here. They are eager to create. They love what they are doing. Look at Samandal, the newest Lebanese comic book, with stories in English and Arabic. It will take sacrifice and patience, but the publisher who can afford it will succeed in the long run, especially if he learns from the mistakes of earlier publishers.

Comics are the language of the 21st century, Matthews told Now! Lebanon. It’s time for us to start talking.

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3 Responses to Arabic Comic-Encyclopedia Author on Why Comics Are Important for Kids

  1. Bernadette says:

    Boy, everybody is talking about comics this week!! Have you read “The 99”?
    May be more appropriate for older readers…and it’s been translated into 9 languages now. I found the Arabic ones in Cairo years ago. I believe that are distributed by Al Ahram.

    • mlynxqualey says:

      Yes, Isaac enjoys the el-99, although we have trouble finding the Arabic versions. Not as ubiquitous as Mickey!

  2. reeshiez says:


    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I find it really useful! Its great to have one place to go to find out about the latest children books, especially since distribution is so bad in Arab countries. I actually have a question for you. I was wondering if you have heard about the Abjad learning system which was developed in Egypt. I am trying to find one of their products online but they seem to have disappeared from all the online bookstores. Their website isn’t working anymore either. Here is a link to an article about the learning system if you haven’t heard of it already:
    and here is a link to their now defunct website:

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