Notes from Sharjah: Orion Picks up طريقتي الخاصّة for English Translation

Quote of the day at Sharjah International Book Fair 2010 about Arabic children’s literature, from Bloomsbury-Qatar’s Andy Smart on why things, they are a-changing: “It’s so many people saying the same thing, there has to be a real demand there.” 

Meanwhile, on the newsier side, Orion Children’s Books has acquired طريقتي الخاصّة, My Own Special Way, by Maitha Al Khayat, right here at the fair.

Children’s books translations into English are relatively rare (and Arabic-English children’s lit translations are a blue-moon occurence), but Orion’s Lisa Milton said, according to BookSeller.Com:

Orion Publishing Group is always looking for ways to promote books and reading to children from all walks of life; we are equally committed to publishing the best books. My Own Special Way offers a unique opportunity to explore Arabic culture and to understand more about the hijab; the story is engaging and the illustrations are delightful. We are looking forward to making it the success it deserves to be.

The book’s illustrations are indeed delightful. After the young protagonist decides she wants to embrace the hijab—like her older sisters—she looks for her own way to do it (with some humorous results), and finally succeeds.

Illustrated by Maya Fidawi, the translation will be edited by British children’s author Vivian French. Orion Children’s Books will publish in spring 2012 in the UK as an Early Reader

Congratulations to Maitha Al Khayat, to Kalimat, to Orion, and to a world that just got one translation richer! (Yes, I think the positive spirit of the book fair is getting to my head.)

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