Honoring World Arabic Language Day with Picture Books

Today’s post is written by Emerson Heflin, of Publisher Spotlight’s marketing team.

World Arabic Language Day falls on 18 December. As one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, Arabic is used daily by more than 290 million people. World Arabic Language Day is an opportunity to admire and appreciate the language’s rich contributions to human enterprises and achievements. It’s a great time to share children’s books that celebrate the Arabic language. 

Kube Publishing is committed to serving Muslim communities worldwide by publishing, innovative, relevant, and authentic books. Their four-title board book series “I Say…” offers toddlers and little ones simple introductions to common Arabic words. In each book, with the help of brother and sister duo Nabil and Noura, author Noor H. Dee and illustrator Iput establish a new phrase along with the situational context it is said in. At the back of the book readers can find the word written in Arabic as well as a transliteration. Start with I Say Alhamdulillah and follow with I Say As-Salamu ‘alaykumI Say Bismillah, and I Say Mashallah.

From Lantana Publishing, award-winning author Nadine Kaadan’s mission is to spread reading culture in the Arab world, in a way that is inspired by the rich heritage of Syria. Published in the U.S. last September, her book Tomorrow was translated from Arabic as Ghadan and presents an uplifting story about a courageous little boy growing up in a time of conflict.  

Then from Tilbury House Publishers, The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story. After recently moving from Egypt to America, Kanzi becomes mortified when her mother arrives at school to drop of her lunch and lovingly calls her Habibti, meaning dear one in Arabic. Instead of letting her shy away from her Arabic heritage, her mother suggests creating a quilt of all of Kanzi’s classmates’ names in Arabic. Complete with a glossary of Arabic words, this title is a perfect example of cultural sharing. This is the first book from new author Aya Khalil, with illustrations lovingly provided by Anait Semirdzhyan.

Each of these books offers an authentic #OwnVoices experience that can offer readers of all backgrounds windows and mirrors, depending on what they bring to the celebration of World Arabic Language Day.

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