We were driving around the southern suburb of Ma3di today, in search of end-of-the-year gifts for my seven-year-old’s teacher and classroom assistant, when suddenly I told my husband: “Stop the car!”
Off of Road 231, I had spotted the sign for كليلة ودمنة (Kalila & Dimna), which opened the 10th of this month.
I was skeptical, as I assumed a bookstore in Ma3di would be geared toward the Anglophone or Francophone expat community. However, inside I was delighted to find new, high-quality books from not just Dar el Shorouk, but from Bloomsbury-Qatar, Kalimat, Dar al-Balsam, Dar Elias, and a number of Lebanese publishers.
I needed presents for a two-year-old, a four-year-old, and a six-year-old for later today, and happily picked up one of the الحيوان صديقي series (the kangaroo one, I think) for the two-year-old, a copy of الغرفول (now priced at 30LE) and a translation of a ToddWorld book about peace.
I also got my own three-year-old فرحانة تتعرف على الأشكال and a few عالم سمسم videos. A peek inside; that’s Managing Partner Ahmed Higazy at left:
The store is generally geared toward the picture-book set. I saw only one middle-grade/YA novel, BQFP’s حينما كان للشوارع أسماء. But the store is only a couple weeks old; I’m sure we can expect a great deal more, including events and classes both inside and in the back garden.
I have a paper schedule, but ISA they should have a Facebook page up soon so that I don’t have to type it in. Anyhow, do go visit, and welcome Kalila w Dimna!
Tomorrow: 10 tips from فرحانة author Rania Hussein Amin on writing a children’s book.