10 Arabic Language Children's Books to Read for International Women's Day
BY: Nadine Ismail/Ambassador Blogger
In honor of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8 each year, I have compiled a list of 10 books/series to help your daughters and sons read books with strong female characters.
When children are exposed to these books, they are gaining a great opportunity to embrace “girl power” with stories that showcase bravery, confidence, and challenging the norm.
1. Why Not?
This book is about Samia, a little girl who breaks with tradition one night to make sure that her father’s professional duty is accomplished while he is ill. I highly recommend this book to young readers, as it exposes them to the preset ideas of what professions girls are not expected to do, how to face these challenges, and break these unfair norms.
2. Sissi and the Seasons by Rania Zaghir
In this book by Rania Zaghir, (also known as the Dr. Seuss of the Arab World) readers discover the unusual fashion choices that Sisi makes with each change of season. The kids will learn important weather vocabulary, in addition to lessons in breaking fashion rules to be your own self. The illustrations in this book will feed the imagination and provide endless discussions. This Book has won first place at the 2009 Annual Award for Children’s Literature from Assabil Association (Friends of Public Libraries). Pages of this book can be seen in this video I produced.
3. My Dream by Asala Publishing
My Dream is a book about a little girl who wishes to escape her homework by dreaming of being a princess. This book focuses on the importance of working hard and using your intellect to achieve your dreams, as opposed to focusing on superficial matters.
4. Mariam’s Pie
This book is about Mariam, a little girl with Down syndrome who makes Man’oosheh, a famous Lebanese pie. She takes readers through the various steps of making the dish, including every ingredient.
5. The Marmar Series
In this series, readers discover the adventures of a little girl named Marmar, a preschooler that loves to explore. “Marmar” talks about the relationship with her mother. “Marmar’s Finger” is about how Marmar explores the world with her brother Mazen, including the feeling of pain. “Marmar, It Is Bath Time” is about the adventures of Marmar when it is time to take a bath. “Marmar Kaak Kaak” is about Marmar discovering the Souk (traditional Arab market).
6. The Thareefa Series By Asala Publishing
In this series, readers go on adventures with Thareefa, a little girl who has many friends. This series has 8 books and is well priced. It is wonderful for kids who can read on their own because it has sight words in Arabic and include tashkeel (diacritic). It is also a perfect read for kids, as it is based on rhyming words.
7. Curious Amani and the Alphabet Letters By Asala Publishing
This book is about little Amani who discovers the Arabic alphabet on a boat trip with her father. Each page of the book focuses on one letter of the alphabet. This is perfect for those kids who have just started reading on their own, as it contains rich vocabulary and the words have tashkeel (diacritics). What is extra special about this book is that the letter in question is highlighted on every page with a different color. It makes the identification of that letter fun and easy. Kids will discover the various positions of each letter and learn many new words that contain this letter. The illustrations in this book are also remarkable.
8. Grandma Nafisa
Grandma Nafisa is a book about a grandmother who breaks the stereotypical image of a grandmother. She loves to work out, she is an artist, and she teaches Majed, her grandson, how to be creative. This is book is a great read for children, as it is full of action (imagine all those action verbs that we wish for our kids to learn in Arabic). The illustrations in this book are also beautifully made.
9. The Sisters and The Bedroom by Asala Publishing
These two books from the blue series of Read with Asala are perfect for teaching the children how pronouns, verbs, and adjectives change with feminine subjects and nouns. It is a valuable dose of grammar hidden in fun stories. I highly recommend buying the entire rainbow series (50 books for less than 1 dollar each) Here is a video of my daughter Alya, reading a book from the green series.
10. Jude Series
This series of 10 books is about Jude, a strong willed resourceful girl who is always getting into mischief, but learns an important lesson at the end of every book. This is one of my daughter’s favorite series, as it covers many topics such as fear, new siblings, homework, and other investing topics.
Nadine Ismail of Reinventing Nadine is a blogger living in the Bay Area in California. Nadine shares on her blog and Instagram account her recipes, crafts and embroidery tutorials, and parental advice, especially raising a bilingual child.