Reading at the CAC Book Fair 2018

This December 11th, I was very happy to be invited to my school for a second time to read at the CAC Book Fair 2018. As usual, there was a beautiful set up and Christmas decorations, giving everyone there a very merry vibe. Many of the students remembered me from last year, and even sat down on the bean bags to relisten to me reading one of my older stories. It was a great day!

Discussing children’s books on Dubai Eye

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to discuss children’s books on the Dubai Eye Radio Channel in the UAE. Annabelle and Evelyn, the co-hosts, and I talked about what makes a good children’s book, whether parents would agree, what are picture books, and what were my personal favorites growing up?

One book that I love until today is But No Elephants by Jerry Smath.

Listen to my live interview here or read some of my answers below:

What makes a good children’s book?
There are good children’s books. I’ve read many that are ‘good’ because they psychologically hit the child’s level, the illustrations are exciting, full of movement, creativity, and variety. the text flows and is perfect when read aloud, making the book useful for a parent/teacher – child reading session. The story itself is well – written, conscious from start to finish, either coming full circle or leaving the story open for the reader’s interpretation at the end.
But an outstanding book primarily contains and addresses feeling. 
What comes to mind is the Maya Angelou quote “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
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Reading above all else, gave me the feeling of security and adventure, comfort and excitement. So until now, I am always happy to go back to reading.
Do grown-ups have different opinions?
I’m very regretful to say this, but most adult’s simply don’t know how to select books for their children. That’s why awards can be so useful. If there’s a gold sticker on the book – it immediately stands out. Many adults, traditionally and until now, search for books that are overly didactic – that TEACH a lesson. And now, that simply isn’t considered good writing. 
What were some of your favourite books growing up and do you remember why?
I grew up in the States before moving to Egypt. There, my school introduced many books to me: The Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson, A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver.
Younger, my parents brought me Dr. Seus, The Rainbow Fish, and I especially liked But No Elephants by Jerry Smath. 
but no elephants

You can listen to me here:

http://dubaieye1038.com/podcast/story-corner-with-dina-elabd/ 

Launching Arabic Book A Month!

What should I buy?

Ever since my friends and family became aware of my consistent passion for quality children’s books, I have always been asked the same questions:

“What books should I buy for my child/cousin/niece/nephew? Where do I find them? Are they good? I feel like Arabic children’s books are weaker than English ones. Where can I find good Arabic books that will actually make my child WANT to read in Arabic?”

Our mission…

Arabic Book A Month was made to precisely respond to this problem. Our customers are the men and women who invest in their families. They believe that providing their child with a quality education is the best gift they can give them. They value the time spent reading together, sparking discussion and connection. Their family is their highest priority. Caring for their child is not circumstantial; it is routine.

With hundreds of Arabic releases every month, we handpick the best books, guaranteeing you a steady flow of lovable Arabic books for your family to enjoy. I am very excited to start this book subscription services for Arabic speaking parents worldwide.

Join our mailing list on www.arabicbookamonth.com to be the first to know of all the details during our pre-launch phase now.

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Attending the IBBY 2018 Congress in Athens!

This year, I was so excited to attend the IBBY 2018 Congress in Athens, Greece. It is really a pleasure to be able to sit in a room surrounded with children’s book authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, and lovers of all kinds. The amount of research done and shared in the short weekend conference is just outstanding.

I’d like to thank Vassiliki Nika, President of IBBY Greece, and the entire team that worked very hard to make such a good conference. And of course, to invite us all to beautiful Greece!

http://www.ibbycongressathens2018.com/

Pictures below:

The awards ceremony!

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The enchanting ancient Greek poetry!

Celebrating 100 Cambridge scholars!

Yesterday, I was very happy to be able to attend a British Petroleum BP event marking their support of education in Egypt. Until today, BP has helped fund 100 Egyptian scholars attend Cambridge university!

As one of these scholars, I can not say how lucky I still feel. The Minister of Higher Education and the Minister of Petroleum also attended and spoke at this event, promising to increase the number of scholarships.

Good luck to all!

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Mila the Beautiful Cat – ميلا القطة الجميلة Coming Soon!

Get excited! My first picturebook “Mila the Beautiful Cat” or “ميلا القطة الجميلة ” is coming soon! And it will be published by the famous and award winning Lebanese publishing house, Asala! What does a little girl and her local cat have in common? A love for ice cream! So when the ice cream shop closes, and the little girl’s family has no choice but to adopt Mila, what happens? Can the family learn to love this very naughty cat and welcome her into their home?

More details to follow…

Featured Author of Book Week at BISM!

In celebration of World Book Day on March 1st, the British International School of Madinaty (BISM) asked me to be their Featured Author during their Book Week! This was an exciting week where I gave workshops to students in grades 3-6, a talk for students in grades 7-10, and a presentation to elementary school parents about the importance of reading. I also held many book reading sessions for the younger years and was happy to sign my books for so many enthusiastic readers and maybe – authors!

I couldn’t have had a better time at the wonderful BISM, and hope to visit again soon. 🙂

Link to a video here.

And photos below!

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Cairo Book Fair 2018

This Friday, I was happy to visit the 49th Cairo International Book Fair. It is scheduled to take place from the 27th of January all the way to the 10th of February – so if you have not already visited, you have time!

The place was packed with friends and parents and children all browsing for the latest books at great prices. I was happy to visit the tents of Dar El Shorouk, The Egyptian – Lebanese publishers, and many others.

I was very happy to visit with my friend, Dr. Farouk Majdalawi, of the Jordanian Majdalawi publishing house. It was a great place where people from many different backgrounds came together to share their views and passions for reading. I left with many new and exciting children’s books!

Until next year!

Some pictures below:

Picturebook Distribution!

And the books are distributed.

The Room to Read team and I visited Collateral Repair Project – Helping Urban Refugees in Jordan, one of our distribution partners that provides incredible support to refugee families in Jordan, through free classes and family food vouchers. Donate to them; they need your help.

While I am so proud these 600,000 copies of 20 excellent Arabic picturebooks are being distributed across Jordan, I am equally proud that these books can benefit any parent who wants to teach their child Arabic. I have received several messages in the past few days asking where to buy these books, so I am tagging our three Jordanian publishers here who can sell them to you: Majdalawi Masterpieces, Jabal Amman Publishers جبل عمان ناشرون, and Dar Al Yasmine Publishing.

Enjoy

 

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Room to Read – Publishing 20 Picturebooks!

On November 14th, I stood before a crowd of 150 authors, illustrators, publishers, media, and VIPs to present the culmination of a year of extraordinary work. The truth is a good picturebook, where both the text and illustrations equally tell a story, takes not less than 2-3 years to produce. This truth was shattered as we fast-forwarded time to produce 20 excellent Arabic picturebooks in less than one year. When I initially met our 3 publishers to explain this project, they didn’t really believe me but strangely agreed to join. Maybe it was because sometimes we want to believe in the unbelievable. Maybe we all secretly wanted this project, where these 20 books would be printed into 600,000 copies and distributed for free across the local and refugee children of Jordan, but were too cowardly to believe we could do it. Yet now, after standing there and witnessing the excitement of our team and their families, after seeing the Minister of Education in the front row silently hand-signaling to me asking whether he could come on stage and speak too, and after reading countless thank you notes and FB posts and Whatsapp messages, I have learned something that in my heart I have always known. That a crazy dream, your story, no matter which way you write it, can come true. Thank you Room to Read, Dubai Cares, and the people of Jordan. And to many more outrageous achievements. @ The Children’s Museum Jordan – متحف الأطفال الأردن

More information available here: https://www.roomtoread.org/jordan/