Last night, my seven-year-old and I were reading عزيزة و غلام القمر (Bloomsbury Qatar, 2010) for the first time. Although it was written and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, who penned the Blue Kangaroo books my son dearly loved when he was smaller, we had never seen Eliza and the Moonchild in English.
The Arabic version was crafted by محمود جعفر , and—not having read the English—my son and I felt he did a nice, straightforward job with the text.
The plot: The little moon-boy lives on an all-white planet, and is charmed by the multicolored Earth he sees through his telescope. So he gets on his صاروخ الأبيض الصغير (everything he has is white) and heads off to Earth. There he meets little عزيزة (on what turns out to be her roof-top garden). Since he wants to take home the beautiful colors of Earth, she paints him a picture, and, in the end, gives him his own set of watercolors to take back to the moon.
My two-year-old lost patience with the narrative, but my seven-year-old loved عزيزة’s and the moon-boy’s art. (He is at that moment when he has become enchanted by chapter books, but still loves picture books, too.) So this made me think:
We could do an art project, inspired by the book, where my son is the “moon boy.” We take a piece of large paper (maybe on a clipboard) outside and do a nature-color walk, looking for colors as if we are experiencing them for the first time. (To properly echo the book, we’d have to start at sunrise, but I think we can be flexible with that one.)
When we do it, I’ll let you know how it goes!
For smaller children—since the little brother won’t want to be left out of the painting—I thought we could do a project based on ألوان الدكان (Kalimat). The adult (in this case, me) would cut out different fruit shapes, and each painting session would have a different color theme. On the day we paint the تفاحة, we talk about أحمر . On the day we paint the موز , we talk about أصفر . And so on. Once all the fruit has been painted, we can glue it onto a big “store” sheet.
Of course, it would be nice if schools would do more creative tie-ins during Arabic class (indeed, it would be nice if they read story-books), but at least we can start at home.