Yes, the current-day Cairo is a city awash with consumer goods. I have never felt the want of a certain brand of toothpaste or shampoo or imported cheese. I don’t need any more English-language books (there are a goodly number; anyhow, I’m happy to get more on trips to the U.S., or sent in the mail from publishers).
But Arabic children’s books, CDs, and educational materials? Yes. I feel the want.
In no particular order:
Read a review of this excellent book (and companion interactive CD) here. This is one of those books I find myself reading nearly every day. Appreciated both by the two-and-a-half-year-old and by the seven-year-old.
2) Al-Salwa Books’ nursery rhymes DVD and books/CD. See excerpts on YouTube to get hooked.
3) فاتن, by Fatima Sharafeddine
The Arabic publishing world has done a great job, of late, with picture books for readers 0-3 and 3-8. But there is still a paucity of good middle-grade (8-12) literature, and a gaping hole when it comes to YA, 13+.
4) Emily Nasrallah‘s YA books
I did see Nasrallah’s Zeeko in translation (in English) at Adam bookshop in Ma’adi. But I don’t want Nasrallah’s books in English! Yes, it’s good that Bloomsbury-Qatar has come out with an Arabic translation of When the Streets Had a Name ( حينما كان للشوارع أسماء), and of course I’ve seen the Harry Potter books in Arabic, but we need YA books written in Arabic!
This makes for excellent car music, and the kids love to sing along. About several of these, although perhaps most regularly طير و علي, the two-year-old says “this my favorite song.”
6) The 99 in Arabic
Yes, all right, we have some copies of The 99, and we must’ve gotten them somewhere in Cairo. But where? And why aren’t they more widely available? A few (Arabic or English) can be downloaded free from the website; others can be purchased there.
7) Bright Fingers’ latest educational materials, including puzzles and stencils.
This also goes for some of the educational materials available from Syraj, like lace-up cards and sandpaper letters.
8 ) Samah Idris’s تحت السرير and قصة الكوسا and الموزة.
I’m sure I’d love a special trip to Lebanon to buy them, but….
Yes, all of them!
10) Nadine Touma’s القمر و الورور
11) Qais Sedki’s Sheikh Zayed-winning سوار الذهب
More about Sedki here. Did I say there would be only 10? And more…