We write books in colloquial Arabic
We publish books and stories for children and students in colloquial Arabic, the Arabic that children hear and speak.
Ossass-Stories is a small family publishing house run by a couple with two young daughters who are growing up bilingual in Arabic and English.
We found it hard reading children's books to them written in formal Arabic because they couldn't relate to them at all. We couldn't find interesting, accessible stories written in the Arabic that they hear and speak every day, so we decided to write our own.
Our aim is to help children - especially those in the diaspora not surrounded by Arabic every day - to develop a love of their rich language and culture.
Our books are intended for children, but also for high school or college students.
Reem Makhoul is a Palestinian journalist from the Galilee. As a young girl she grew up reading children's stories and watching childen's cartoons wondering why they were all in fussha, which seemed too formal for the characters and settings. She has lived and worked in Jerusalem, New York City and London.
Stephen Farrell is a journalist of Irish descent who was born and raised in London. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East.
Their daughters are Sheherazade and Nairouz, whose imaginations inspired many of the ideas in the books.
Fouad Mezher is a Lebanese illustrator who studied graphic design in Beirut. He illustrated both 'The Girl Who Lost Her Imagination' and 'Where Shall I Hide?'
Sheherazade, the heroine of our first two books, is a child of the big, wide world. She was born in Jerusalem, moved to New York City with her parents when she was a baby, and now lives in London.
She was named after a statue of the fabled storyteller of 'Tales of 1001 Nights.' That statue is beside the River Tigris in Baghdad.
Her extended family are spread across the Middle East, Scandinavia and British Isles.
Sheherazade says funny and clever things all the time, inspiring her parents to write them down. She is the real inspiration behind these books.
Nairouz makes a grand entry in the second book, 'Where Shall I Hide?' She's the happiest baby in the world, and adores her big sister Sheherazade. Her favourite words in Arabic are "Mai" for water, "Abouta" for a hug, and "Annini" for a bottle. She even sings her own version of "Ba Ba Black Sheep," and counts to 10 in Arabic. We know we will write whole books about her in the future. She will insist.