Picture Books

RECOMMENDED: ‘The White Ravens’ Selection, ‘The Writer’

ArabKidLitNow recommends The Writer (الكاتب), with text by Nabiha Mheidly and illustrations by multi-award-winning artist Walid Taher:

Awards: SELECTION 2019, White Ravens

Author: Nabiha Mheidly

Illustrator: Walid Taher

Publisher: Dar al-Hadaek

Contact: alhadaek@alhadaekgroup.com

Buy in Arabic: Available on Jamalon

White Ravens Writes:

This book is about writing and an author’s love for his characters – characters that he must let go when his work is finished. The plot follows a writer as he strenuously searches for an appropriate protagonist for a new story, until he finally lands on a unique-looking cat. The shaggy, plain, but self-confident and brave animal becomes the hero of a tale full of adventure. When the writer later leafs through his work, the cat prances out and bids him a final adieu with the words: “You surely don’t want me to stay stuck between the book covers”. This original, cleverly-told book has witty and dynamic coloured-chalk illustrations. Lebanese author Nabiha Mheidly studied biology, publicity, and pedagogy and has directed AlHadaek, the publishing house she founded, since 1989. Egyptian illustrator, cartoonist, author,and painter Walid Taher is among the Who’s Who of Arabic children’s literature.

Recommended reading age: 8+.


4 Arabic-language Writers Nominated for 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award!

Organizers today announced the 237 candidates from 68 countries that are nominated to the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Candidates were presented by the jury at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the selected candidates represent all continents with authors, illustrators, reading promoters, and storytellers.

More than a hundred nominating bodies worldwide have proposed candidates for the 2020 award.

There are four candidates who write in Arabic, and also Arab-Australian author Randa Abdel-Fattah, representing Australia.

From Egypt, author and oral storyteller Yacoub El-Sharouni is on the list; from Jordan, author-publisher Taghreed al-Najjar, from Lebanon-Belgium, author-translator Fatima Sharafeddine; and, from Palestine, author-academic Sonia Nimr.

The 2020 ALMA laureate will be announced on March 31, 2020.


2019 Shortlists for Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature

Prize announcements continued Wednesday as the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature announced shortlists in five categories:

The five shortlists — for best text, best illustrations, best production, best book, and young adult — were announced on the opening day of the Frankfurt International Book Fair.

There were only three books shortlisted for this year’s YA category: Taghreed Najjar’s Whose Doll Is This, a compelling novel set between Chicago, Jaffa, and Beirut that follows the fate of a doll left behind when Arwa’s grandma fled her Jaffa home in 1948; Fatima Sharafeddine’s Plump Mila, about a girl’s struggles with anorexia; and Me and the Crew by Mais Dagher, ill. the acclaimed Lena Merhej, about a boy named Ibrahim who’s bullied after he discovers a secret.

The four-book shortlist in the “Best Book of the Year” category includes: Abu Karkouba, by Nabiha Muhaidli and ill. Walid Taher (Dar al-Hadaek); With All the Love in My Heart, by Anas Abu Rahma and ill. Lubna Taha (Palestine Writing Workshop); Damascus: The Story of a City, by Alaa Murtada (Dar al-Balsam); and A Story about “س” and “ل,” also by Anas Abu Rahma, ill. Lubna Taha (The National Publishing House of Jordan).

The four-book shortlist in the “Best Text” category includes: Abu Karkouba, written by Nabiha Muhaidli and ill. Walid Taher (Dar al-Hadaek); Damascus: The Story of a City, by Alaa Murtada (Dar al-Balsam); Everything’s Going to Be Okay, by Mohamed El-Atabi, ill. Ali Shamseddine (Dar al-Hadaek); For One Simple Reason!, by Samar Taher ill. Sasha Haddad (Dar Asala).

The four-book shortlist in the “Best Illustrations” category includes: I Fly by Dr. Amani Saad Alnajem, ill. Khalid Zaini (Alif Ba Ta Publishing); Bows of Friendship, by Fatima Hamad Al Mazroui, ill. Walid Taher and Mohammed Ibrahim (Hudhud Publishing and Distribution); Doll House, by Jakeer Khorshid, ill. Faris Gara Beat (Dar Rabie); and Day of Fairy Tales, by Khawla Ali Mohammed, ill. Ghazala Picadillo (Dar al-Buraq Children’s Culture).

In the category of “Best Production,” the four-book shortlist includes: Abu Karkouba, by Nabiha Muhaidli and ill. Walid Taher (Dar al-Hadaek); Island of the Blessed Seas, by Walid Taher (Yanbow Al Kitab); Sanjoob and the Spilt Milk, by Haifa Mohareb Sawarka, Ill. Javiera MacLean, (Salwa Books); and Damascus: The Story of a City, by Alaa Murtada (Dar al-Balsam).

A shortlist was not announced for the “Best Silent Book” category.

Prize organizers reported that this year they had received 175 submissions from around the world, and that winners in all categories — including the new “Best Silent Book” category — would be announced at the opening ceremony of the Sharjah International Book Fair 2019, on October 30, 2019.

The 1.2 million AED in prize money (approximately USD $325,000) is divided between authors, illustrators, and publishers.

Picture Books

English Edition of Nadine Kaadan’s ‘Tomorrow’ Shortlisted for 2019 Little Rebels Award

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is a prize for “radical fiction aimed at children aged 0-12,” and Syrian children’s-book author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan made this year’s seven-book shortlist with her self-translated picture book Tomorrow, published by Lantana.

As Little Rebels organizers write of Tomorrow:

Yazan no longer goes to the park to play, and he no longer sees his friend who lives next door. Everything around him is changing. His parents sit in front of the television with the news turned up LOUD and Yazan’s little red bike leans forgotten against the wall. Will he ever be able to go outside and play? A beautiful picture-book full of heart, and not without hope, set against the backdrop of the Syrian war.

The year’s winner will be announced at a special ceremony on July 10.


‘Women of Egypt’ Launches 2019 Writing Contest for Egyptian Children

Women of Egypt magazine has announced the launch of its first-ever writing contest Egyptian children all over the world between the ages of 3 and 16. The contest is supported by Diwan Bookstore and Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah Publishing House; Art Partner One Shot for Photography and Advertising; and Media Partners Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina at Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, ArabLit, and the Cairo Mockingbird Platform for Arab Art and Literature.

The contest opens today, January 15, 2019, and closes in one month, on February 15, 2019, at 12 p.m. Cairo time.

According to Dina Al Mahdy, the contest coordinator, “The goal of the contest is to discover and celebrate Egyptian children’s creative writing, in English or Arabic, and to get them excited about reading and writing by encouraging them– no matter what their background, education or lack thereof.”

The contest is free of charge and is open to Egyptian children and children of Egyptian parents anywhere in the world.

The contest is divided into three age groups: 3-5, 6-11, and 12-16. Nine winners will be selected for each language, three from each age group. The winners of the Arabic contest will be offered prizes from Al Dar Al Masreya Loubnaneya Publishing House, and Diwan Bookstore will provide the prizes for the winners of the English contest. .

The selection of the winners will be made by a panel of nine judges, including Samah Abou Bakr, Mona El-Namoury, Zeinab Mobarak, Rania Amin, Myriam Rizkallah, Dina El-Mahdy, Marcia Lynx Qualey, Karen Leggett Abouraya, and Alexandra Kinias.

Winners will be announced in June 2019, with winning entries published in e-books in July 2019.

For more information, visit the “Women of EgyptFacebook page or contact the team at womenofegyptmagazine@gmail.com.