Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

Talking about War: Fatima Sharafeddine’s “There is War in My City”

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

We’ve been thinking long and hard about this post, and we finally decided to write it and open up the room for discussion. As the Arab world reels from almost daily violence, we started to wonder how parents discuss the difficult subject of war with their children. How do they answer questions, start a conversation and yet try to maintain a child’s sense of innocence? As a parent, would you read a children’s book about war with your kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject, and at the same time, we’d like to start the conversation with an introduction to a very well written children’s book that deals with just this topic.


“There is War in My City” (في مدينتي حرب), written by Fatima Sharafeddine and Illustrated by Thomas Broome, was published in 2006 when indeed there was a war in the author’s hometown of Beirut. The book is intended for children age 4 to 8, and handles the topic in an eye opening yet empowering way. Written from a child’s perspective, It opens up as follows:

أحب مدينتي كثيرا.
فيها بيتي.
فيها أبي و أمي و أخي الصغير و أجدادي.
فيها مدرستي و رفاقي.

و لكن في مدينتي حرب.

 It goes on to describe the day to day reality of living with war: power cuts, hiding away in basements and being able to return  to school when things are calmer. The book ends on a hopeful note with the main character, a young boy, imagining himself becoming a teacher and teaching other children not to be afraid.

If you do consider reading the book with your children, we recommend you read the review on Read Kutub Kids as it provides an account of a parent’s experience reading the book with her son. You can read the review HERE. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so do leave us a note in the comments.

Author Profile: Samar Mahfouz Barraj

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Samar Mahfouz Barraj is a Lebanese author who has 35 titles under her belt.  She began her career as a teacher, and years of teaching and working with children has helped her nourish a deep passion for writing.

She published her first book, I Didn’t Mean It لم أكن أقصد,  in 2007 with Asala publishers.  Among her 35 published titles, four have been shortlisted for the prestigious Etisalat Award: Looking for a Hobby أفتش عن هواية, My Mother and Smoking أمي والتدخين, When my Friend Got Sick  عندما مرضت صديقتي, which also won the second prize for Children’s Books at the Beirut International Book Fair in 2011, and My Grandmother will Always Remember Me  جدتي ستتذكرني دائماً, which won the first prize for Children’s Books at the Beirut International Book Fair in December 2012. Her book By the Light of the Candle  على ضوء الشمعة was selected for the honor list of the 2012 Kitabi Award organized by the Arab Thought Foundation.

Samar writes poetry, songs and plays for children, translates books from French, English and Italian and works for various educational publishers. As an author and member of the Lebanese Board on Books for Young People, she prepares workshops and participates in activities to promote reading among children. Check out some of her great work below.


What are you Reading with your Kids this Eid?

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Eid Mubarak! A great way to celebrate the arrival of Eid Al-Fitr is to grab a Eid themed book, cuddle up with your kids and read together! Here are a couple of book suggestions to get you started…

THE EID GIFT هدية العيد


Author: Nahed Shawa, Illustrator: Nezar Yehya

After much thought, Hind finds the best present to give to her parents for Eid.

THE EID SHOES حذاء العيد


Author: Fatima Sharafeddine, Illustrator: Ousama Mezher

Dima badly wants a pair of blue shoes she saw, but has to wait until Eid for her mom to buy them for her. On the morning of Eid, she puts on her new dress with her matching new blue shoes and goes to her grandparents’ house where the whole family has gathered to celebrate.

WELCOME, WELCOME EID AL FITR أهلاً أهلاً بعيد الفطر

welcome eid

Author: Mirna Barraj

After fasting the month of Ramadan, everyone looks forward to celebrating Eid with family and friends. This is a book about Eid from a kid’s perspective.

THE WHITE BOOTS جزمة العيد


Author: Wafa Qusous, Illustrator: Lamia Abul-Saheb

Yasmine is very excited about her Eid gift, a pair of white boots she plans to wear on the first day of the festivities. Worried that someone might steal them, she decides to sleep with her boots on. What happens next?