For WorldKidLit Month: 8 New Palestinian Children’s Books to Translate, and More

This book won the Etisalat Prize for Best Illustrations. Yara Bamieh plays masterfully with words and pictures, and the fact that Bulqash won the Etisalat Award for Best Production is no surprise. Nimr here. House of Anansi published Fatima Sharafeddine’s   Faten   as   The Servant in 2013. Moreover, there haven’t been — to the best of my knowledge — translators dedicated to finding their way around the world of Arabic children’s literature. If the “what   we   need to know about   them” genre of Arabic literature was the leading edge of the translation surge of the last two decades, then it’s possible we haven’t thought our children need to know about “them.” (Except, perhaps, a funny story about a girl who decides to wear hijab.)
There are award-winning children’s books — for instance al-Noqta al-Sooda’ (The Black Dot) —   although Andy Smart notes that Walid Taher’s Etisalat Prize-winning book is the wrong length for an Anglophone children’s book. #
فلفول في بيت الغول
مايا أبو الحيات واناستاسيا قرواني
Falful in the Troll’s House
Maya Abu Al-Hayyat and Anastasia Qarwani
Falful is a little mouse who lives with al-Ghul — the troll — and his three troll siblings: Maltoub, who’s afraid of the dark, Banurah, who’s always chewing gum, and Sansur, who’s always roaring with anger, causing havoc, and terrifying poor Falful. Illustrator Maya Fidawi doesn’t make the jacket. Let me Pass Please), also   illustrated by   Walid Taher. Nimr here. Although translations of grown-ups’ Arabic literature have seen a sharp uptick in the last two decades, translations of Arabic children’s literature have not:
By Emirati writer Maitha al-Khayyat, whose other books include one about the adventures of headlice. First, English-language children’s publishing is, in general, linguistically insular. Choose any book, but especially the one that you find in your grandfather’s room, or out on the street. “Thank you,” she said. Since the headline promised a list of eight new Palestinian children’s books that can and should be translated into English, without further ado:
رحلات عجيبة في البلاد الغريبة
سونيا نمر
Wondrous Explorations in Strange Nations
Sonia Nimr
This Etisalat Prize for Arabic Fiction-winning novel (2014) takes us into wild adventures when a life is revealed to a university professor invited to attend a conference in Morocco, where she is handed an old manuscript on the life of “Qamar,” who is some combination of Sindbad, Ibn Battuta, Pippi Longstocking, and a figure from Palestinian folktales. “Just one.” But it wasn’t long before together they had gobbled up all the strawberries, and the apple and orange besides, and the girl realized there was nothing to be afraid of! Together, these questions form a blue pond. Do not read when you smell freshly baked bread. #
الجنية الغجرية
ميس داغر وضحى الخطيب
The Gypsy Witch
Mays Dagher and Daha Al Khateb
This story begins with children talking about a frightening woman who must certainly be a witch, and everyone is frightened! #
The six titles below, compiled and described by Elisabet Risberg, are available on Yalla Art. There have been a few books to make it across. If there is a publisher with a keen eye out for Arabic children’s literature, it’s unclear who they are. When spring arrives, everything is ready for the arrival of a princess. In the end, Falful asks al-Ghul for help, and the story ends just as well as any magic story can. One of the girls tells us she enjoyed the woman’s company on a bus, and although she first fearfully turned down an apple and an orange from the woman, she could not resist strawberries! It’s worth thinking about reasons why. The book includes a drawing of Mohieddin El Labbad (1940-2010), a great Egyptian illustrator, of whose illustrations I am inordinately fond. The book is a work of art in itself and attracts really imaginative musings, both for children and for adults. In part, this small-but-steady stream is because of established translators and established relationships. It hasn’t been easy for me to grasp, but every time I read it, I think more and more both about the text itself and about the amazing illustrations. Ehem.. Qamar travels dangerous waters and faces enslavement, danger, and hardships, but she also meets friends, loves, and sets out to travel strange lands once again. Ahem.. They know which translators are reading kid lit, and who’s got great taste. Don’t tell anyone what book you’re reading until you’ve read it. She surely eats kids, too! Because the stories are fun, the illustrations are wild, the characters are heartwarming. Since it happens each year, they all wait longingly for the day, just as a child might wait for Christmas. Don’t ask to become friends with your favorite author on Facebook. #
طائر الرعد
سونيا نمر
Thunderbird
Sonia Nimr
This exciting book about one Palestinian girl seeking to stop the collapse of the boundary between djinn and human worlds, and save the universe, is a Harry Potteresque fantasy (she’s an orphan, she didn’t realize she had powers) set in the very real world of Palestine under occupation, where just getting across town can take more courage than meeting a djinn. Read a Q&A with Dr. She has large magic eyes, a nose as long as an elephant’s trunk, and teeth as sharp as a wolf’s. There aren’t a lot of translations of French or Spanish children’s books, either. The prince is looking for Princess Buhruj, and he struggles through the mist that settles over the mountains and builds a palace to capture the princess’s attention, a palace with windows that reflect the sun and moon. Consider the following:
 
Do not read when you are hungry. بولقش
يارا بامية
Bulqash
Yara Bamieh
This is a fabulous and fantastic story about Bulqash’s   visit to an island full of wild rabbits that takes place on a certain day each year — the day of the first spring flower. Yet one can certainly expect a small but steady stream of titles from European and East Asian languages. Flowers grow out of his coat sleeve and everything he reads in books turn into questions that fall on the town. Advertisements

Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrPinterestPocketLike this:Like Loading…‹ ‘A Poet’s Hallucinations,’ by Dareen TatourCategories: children's Also, Neem Tree Press recently published Ahlam Bsharat’s   Ismee al-Harakee Farasha   as   Code Name: Butterfly,   translated by Nancy Roberts, a wonderful novel for young people that’s bursting with the questions of life, especially life in Palestine. Read a Q&A with Dr. Marrerni Men Fadlek (Ahem.. Moreover, it turned out they both had frightening fantasies of each other, and each had been just as scared! Read to your dog! If I had to pick one piece of favorite advice from all this, it would be the advice to google a photo of one of my favorite writers, memorize the picture, and draw it. #
بركة الأسئلة الزرقاء
مايا أبو الحيات وحسان مناصرة
A Blue Pool’s Questions
Maya Abu Alhayyat and Hassan Manasrah
Who is this strange man who goes around, alone and humming? #
قصر الأميرة بهرج
أحلام بشارات وريما الكوسا
The Palace of Princess Buhruj
Ahlam Bsharat and Rima Kusa
For the sake of a single bloom, the earth grew greenery… So begins this dreamlike story of a garden, a princess’s beauty, and how the love of a prince falls, as rain falls to the earth, as trees flourish, as the stars glimmer. Tiny Owl is watching what’s new in Iranian children’s literature;   Balestier Press   is on top of new Chinese YA; North South   has their eyes out for great European children’s literature. Orion published an adapted version of Maitha al-Khayyat’s   Tareeqti al-Khasa,   or   My Own Special Way,   as translated by Sharafeddine and “retold by Vivian French,” whose name gets the biggest billing on the cover. It’s hard to believe there’s anyone who doesn’t need more art by Maya Fidawi   in their life:
From Maya Fidawi. This is the first book in a trilogy, and readers are left biting their fingertips, wondering what will happen next. Why translate the new flowering Arabic children’s literature into English? Sharafeddine translated the title herself. Invite your favorite character to dinner with your family. It’s a story about longing, about play, and about what a source of amazement life can be, in its aspects both mundane and unique. Should he be quiet as a mouse, as Maltub suggests, or should he yell back, as Banurah says? #
نصائح غير مهمة للقارئ الصغير
أنس أبو رحمة ولبنى طه
Unnecessary Advice for the Young Reader
Anas Aburahma and Lubna Taha
 
Although unnecessary, this advice can be just as amazing! But fantasies rarely match reality, and these children’s fantasies turn out to be no more than imagination. Or   Ehem.. This book is almost like a philosophical meditation on man’s search for happiness.