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Posts Tagged ‘Arabic-language prize’

etisalat

I just came across this link from Publishers Weekly about a new Arabic-language children’s book prize , the Etisalat Award for Arab Children’s literature, that is due to launch in November 2009 during the annual Sharjah World Book Fair.

The Publishers Weekly article features an interview with Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, founder of the upcoming prize, and head of the new Arabic publishing house Kalimat. Sheikha Bodour names many reasons for why she has chosen to initiate this prize – to better foster a culture of parents reading to their children and to encourage the growth of children’s publishing in the Arabic-speaking world – but one reason that I found particularly interesting was her desire to have Arabic  children see themselves in their books.

As she notes, “there is a large trend in the Arab world to translate books from other cultures into Arabic…[h]owever, there also needs to be some homegrown books that are written and illustrated by Arabs who will be able to interpret the world the way an Arab child sees it. I set up my own publishing house precisely because of this reason. I wanted my books to portray Arab-looking children, with dark eyes and dark hair.”

I think this is one of the great benefits of a variety of books in our libraries. We want to be able to offer a range of reading materials so that children and young adults can read about different places and cultures, yes, but also so that they can see themselves in the pages too.

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