Celebrating Al-Balsam’s First Year

From an article in Al Masry Al Youm:

Balsam al-Saad took a moment on 1 May to assess a momentous first year at Cairo’s only children’s bookstore, and to survey the long road ahead. Readings, drawings, singing, talks and art events took place throughout the day, and some fans of the store and affiliated publishing houses stopped by just to shake Saad’s hand.

After all, it isn’t easy to publish and sell Arabic-language children’s books in a country where many parents are focused on teaching their child to read in a foreign tongue.

Saad has undertaken not just the difficult job of selling children’s books, but the even harder one of igniting a passion for Arabic children’s literature. Because of this, the store has a markedly different feel from other high-end bookstores in Cairo. While most stores relegate Arabic children’s literature to a small shelf or corner, at Al-Balsam it is foreign-language children’s books that get the less-desirable shelf space upstairs.

Saad is part of a growing core of Arab educators, authors, and publishers who believe that, for a nation to succeed, its citizens must read and write confidently in their own language.

Keep reading.

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