When Your Toddler Gets Scared: لا أخاف

Suddenly, my two-and-a-half-year-old wants to skip past all the “scary” pages in his books. With some books, that’s understandable:

No, I don’t know why we still have these books.

Some books are worthwhile, but scary:

Both sons are interested but unmoved by the soldiers (which they have not experienced, except the un-threatening type in front of Cairo’s embassies) but are terrified by the abandoned teddy bear. Each time we read this book, they want to rescue it.

But the fear has even traveled to books like هناك ما هو أسوأ, الغرفول, بيت للأرنب الصغير and others. Whenever the ثعلب or the أسد or ثعبان shows up (or you name it), he wants to hurry through or skip that page. It makes for a pretty disjointed story-telling experience!

One book that has been a comfort to him is Fatima Sharafeddine’s “Yasmine” book, لا أخاف. It’s a very simple book with large, comforting pictures that depicts several common childhood fears: being left alone in bed, the dark, crowds, dogs barking, mommy leaving. (At first, my two-year-old insisted that the mommy is not leaving, but he has since accepted it.)

For each fear, there is something that drives away the fear: a teddy bear, mommy’s singing, daddy reading a book (زي أنت, my two-year-old says).

It’s not his favorite, but—for when he’s scared—it’s a nice book to visit.

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