Great Arabic Children’s Book Authors: Fatima Sharafeddine

Part of choosing excellent books for your child is knowing the best contemporary authors out there. This kicks off a new series.

Writing keeps your inner balance, just like painting, dancing, or playing music. – Fatima Sharafeddine

Sharafeddine reading to children

Fatima Sharafeddine (fatimasharafeddine.com) is perhaps the most prominent contemporary author of Arabic children’s literature. Born in Beirut in 1966, over the last five years, Sharafeddine has written and published more than 45 books, and translated several others from English and French into Arabic.

Mountain Rooster

Perhaps 45 picture books (and one YA novel) is not unusual. But she also has won a number of awards for her work: in 2007, National Committee of the Lebanese Child Award for Mountain Rooster; in 2009, There is War in My City was on the honor list of the Anna Lindh Foundation; in 2010, she was nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award; also in 2010, she won the IBBY-Lebanon for best book published in the last three years in Lebanon her book My Skirt.

Sharafeddine, on her website, says that Mountain Rooster is probably her favorite of her 45-odd books.

Why did she start writing? She told the website Blog Critics:

I moved to Belgium in 2001, and was jobless for a couple of years. During this period I decided to teach my children reading Arabic. That’s when I realized the gap we have in the Arab world regarding children’s literature. It was very hard to find Arabic books that I could share with my children. And since writing for children was a passion that had accompanied me throughout my life, I decided to start writing.

Sharafeddine has also begun to give workshops in various Arab capitals (including, this year, in Cairo) for writers who want to focus on children’s lit.

Looking for Sharafeddine’s titles? Her three regular publishers are Asala (in Lebanon), Kalimat (in the UAE), and Mijade (in Belgium, where she currently lives).

Sharafeddine recently finished her first YA book, Faten. She posted this excerpt online:

تتسارع خطواتها. تمشي سريعًا. تُسرع أكثر. تركض. تركض أسرع. ماذا بعد؟
هل ستطير؟
-من قصة “فاتن”

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