Obviously, from the title and the fact that these are board books, the appropriate child for al-Salwa’s three-book أهازيج الطفولة المبكرة series is my middle one: the three-year-old.
But it was my older son (seven) who one morning put “أنا الهوا” on repeat for at least an hour, and encouraged his younger brother to sing along. I’ve also seen him sit down and read along with the books as the CD was playing. The drawings are contemporary and fun, appropriate for a range of ages. Of course, you can’t remind the seven-year-old of the collection’s title: أهازيج الطفولة المبكرة or “Arabic Nursery Rhymes.” (Seven-year-olds and nursery…well….)
I’ve mentioned it before, but singing is a key way to develop literacy. Parent and Child magazine notes that singing is sometimes overlooked, but it’s an important component, as strong readers and writers must be able to “play” with language.
Many seven-year-olds, I’m sure, will prefer to sing along with the pop stars of the day. But sometimes, they can still be charmed by a well-crafted song just for kids.
Note that I don’t have the DVD that goes with this set, so I don’t know how it complements the books and music (or perhaps draws attention away from the reading). But I have shown them the YouTube clips, and that has helped them in memorizing songs.
In children’s-book news:
Today is al-Balsam Bookstore’s first birthday party! If you’re in Cairo, I’ll see you there.
The Saudi Gazette: Saudi academic champions children’s books. Dr. Sabah A. Aisawi talks about the past and present of Saudi kid lit.