Yara Bamieh and Samar Mahfouz Barraj on Creating Award-winning Arabic Children’s Books

And what is “Bolqosh”? She had published a collection of short stories and recently started “Arabic Literature in English – Australia.” She is also a translator, life consultant, and book reviewer. Samar Mahfouz Barraj: Yes, I agree. So sometimes the writer knows better and sometimes the illustrator can add something extra without changing the meaning of the book. Yara Bamieh is the author-illustrator behind   Bolqosh,   winner of the 2016 Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, while the equally award-winning Samar Mahfouz Barraj — author of 60 books to day — has been recognized with four Etisalat Awards in the prize’s short history. When children start talking, they play with the letters and words — sometimes they overturn the words and the letters, and they enjoy doing that. So it’s nice for children from a young age to understand how the story is put together, and I worked with Samar before, so I understand her work. How these sessions benefit the children? The professions are close but different. They might reverse the world, saying it from back to front, or change the word’s place in a sentence. I think there should be a meeting between the writer and illustrator at the beginning, to allow the writer to explain his or her idea to the illustrator. Sometime we receive the illustrations very late, just before publication, and there’s no time to change. Now, I am working in renovation with a project called “Al Rowaq,” where we renovate old historical buildings in some Palestinian villages, using the same old materials that were used in building these houses. YB:   The idea came from children. The best books convey their meanings to the children in a simple but powerful way, using both words and pictures. I would like to add that the book was written during Palestine Writing Workshop project. What do you think about it? An illustration isn’t just sketched to explain the story, but it takes the story to another level, and it’s the combination of the text and the pictures that make the story. When I was young, I was amazed by books, with all their illustrations, and I didn’t know how it worked. SMB:   The work is different with each illustrator. HS: You wrote   Bolqosh   in a clever way, with upside-down pages and overturned words. HS: Are your illustrations sometimes inspired by your work in renovation? I find this work inspiring. Advertisements

Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading…‹ Friday Finds: Mohab Nasr’s ‘Society’Categories: children's Yara worked on my book   Nice Visitor, but when she submitted the illustrations to me and the publisher, we thought it would frighten the children, and we asked her to change in it, and she did. I also love Arabic letters, and I wanted to draw the letters and the words and that worked well in the book, and the children loved it. YB:   Not when I first started illustrating. HS: This is a question for both of you. Hend Saeed: You, Yara, are an architect and illustrator. She also co-authored the acclaimed   Ghady and Rawan   with fellow Lebanese author Fatima Sharafeddine. Then, I managed to separate my work from my illustration. Hend Saeed loves books and has a special interest in Arabic literature. How do the two relate? I’ve heard different views about how children’s-book writers and illustrator should work together. Bolqosh is an imaginary character and its name has no meaning, but if you read it from the last letter to the first then it means upside-down. This year, Bamieh participated in three sessions at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, including “Dream a Story” alongside   Barraj, while Barraj participated in two other sessions, “Fun with Wassem” and a masterclass on literary translation into Arabic. The project has a number of writers and illustrators, and each one works on their own project, but we’re all in one place helping to share ideas and thoughts. I think children will enjoy it, and they will see how it works when a writer and illustrator work together. Some publishers don’t let the writer communicate with the illustrator, as maybe they’re afraid of clashes between them. Samar Mahfouz Barraj a Lebanese author-translator who has penned dozens of books for children. Both were at this year’s Emirates LitFest:
Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Yara Bamieh
By Hend Saeed
Palestinian Yara Bamieh a talented architect and author-illustrator who has brought out a number of children’s books, including Bolqosh, which won an Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature in 2016. When children do this, they make us look at the world in a different way. But lately I can see myself trying to combine the two together, especially while doing sketches of old buildings, but it is still an experiment. Some illustrators will not agree on any change, but I usually insist, if the meaning of the book is totally changed by the illustration. YB:   It’s very important to meet or communicate with the writer before and sometimes after the illustration. Yara Bamieh:   I studied architecture because I love drawing, but the more I studied architecture, the more I liked drawing and illustration, which I discovered during my studies and then started to develop my skills in illustration. YB:   I think this is a good opportunity for children to see how the book works. A few of her award-winning texts include When My Friend Got Sick, My Grandmother Will Always Remember Me, Red Line, and   My Friend. Where did the idea come from? Sometimes there are things you can explain in words, and sometimes we need pictures. That helped me to bring Bolqosh to its final version, which is different from when I started with it. I illustrated my first book after graduation and managed to work in both. We start with sketches, then we add to it slowly, as I read and Yara illustrates. You had a session for children called “Dream a Story” together, as a writer and illustrator.