What’s the Right Age for Al-Salwa’s Book and CD Collection ‘أهازيج الطفولة المبكرة’

Obviously, from the title and the fact that these are board books, the appropriate child for al-Salwa’s أهازيج الطفولة المبكرة series is my middle one: the three-year-old. Continue reading

30-second Review: عائلة هيكل

عائلة هيكل , created by Janet and Allen Ahlberg and translated by Mahmoud Gaafer, is newly out in Arabic from Bloomsbury Qatar. It’s a “night in the life” story of a skeleton family: a big skeleton, a small one, and their skeleton dog. Continue reading

Review: سلسلة السمكة الذهبية from دار السلوى and the Daily جدول قراءتي

Most of the leveled “easy readers” that I’ve come across, in Arabic, have been translations of reading series from English or French. This often means that—even with “level one” books—the vocabulary used in the books isn’t so “easy” at all. Continue reading

فرحانة تتكلم وتتكلم and the Importance of ‘Dialogic Reading’

Recently, the Huffington Post published an essay by Maxwell King and Michael Robb, Ph.D about one of the important ways we can help our children learn.

Talking. Continue reading

Doha Book Fair Finds: The قصة و كوسى Series

How on Earth—you might legitimately ask—did it take me so long to pick up the قصة و كوسى series, which has been out now for several years, since the birth of my first son? Continue reading 

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. Continue reading

15-Second Review: لو كنت طائرا

Rarely does a book engender as many difficult questions as لو كنت طائرا, written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Amal Karzai. Continue reading

30-Second Review: Book and Interactive CD for the Award-Winning بيت للأرنب الصغير

بيت للأرنب الصغير, one of only two books that was longlisted both for the Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature and on the Anna Lindh Foundation Honor List, is not just a book: It’s a book with an interactive CD that features games, art projects, songs, a dramatic reading of the book, print-outs, “wallpaper,” and probably more functions we haven’t yet explored! Continue reading

30-Second Reviews: Books about Girls and Their Hair: شعر ميمي and ليلى تسرح شعرها

I have two boys (and a third of undetermined gender in the womb), and thus far have not given much thought to the topic of…hair. Continue reading

30-Second Review: في مدينتي حرب

But today I wanted to talk about a book that caused some controversy in our home: في مدينتي حرب, by فاطمة شرف الدين. (Buy it from Neelwafurat here.) It was published by دار النهضة العربية in 2006, when, unfortunately, there was indeed war in the author’s city. Continue reading

Stars: 4/5

The Poetry of Translating Children’s Books: The Gruffalo and الغرفول

I have now read الغرفول in English and Arabic dozens of times to my two sons, feeling its texture and rhythm in both languages. The book is charming—for those who haven’t read it, my goodness! hie thee to a bookstore!—and … Continue reading

Stars: 4/5

Stories and Art: Inspired by عزيزة و غلام القمر and ألوان الدّكان

Last night, my seven-year-old and I were reading عزيزة و غلام القمر (Bloomsbury Qatar, 2010) for the first time. Although it was written and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, who penned the Blue Kangaroo books my son dearly loved when … Continue reading

Stars: 4/5 and 3/5

30-Second Review: الوطن (El Wutn)

What is a “homeland”? Kids salute the flag every day and sing “Biladi, Biladi,” but what does الوطن really mean? A young boy wonders, and decides to find out in this charmingly, childishly illustrated book, given two thumbs up by … Continue reading

Stars: 3/5

An Appreciation for Arabic Books-from-TV: عالم سمسم

I am generally not the sort to appreciate Pooh, Dora, Elmo, Spiderman, Mickey, and Barney. My husband claims that, before we had children, I scoffed at these characters and said they would never be allowed in my home. Now, of … Continue reading

15-Second Reviews: /Fizo Y3ref…Y3ref/ and /Hal Lil Kanghar Aydan Um/?

Many legitimate complaints have been aired about the poor quality of Arabic children’s book writing. Too many books are moral-heavy and fun-poor; most texts don’t use repetition or rhyme; the illustrations often look as though, well, they were done by … Continue reading

Stars: 5/5 and 3.5/5.

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