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.
We are a married couple raising a five-year-old daughter who speaks English and Arabic. We wanted to read books to her not in formal Arabic, but in the colloquial dialect that she hears and speaks everyday. We couldn't find such books, so we decided to write our own.
'The Girl Who Lost Her Imagination' is the first in a series of books that we hope will help our daughter to develop a love of her rich language and culture. When she grows up and is old enough to progress to formal Arabic, fussha, no one will be more proud than us.
Our books are intended for children, but also for high school or college students and for other adults who want to learn colloquial Arabic. The first edition is written in the Shami dialect, which is spoken across Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and we will soon have versions in other dialects of Arabic.
Reem Makhoul is a Palestinian journalist. She was born in a small village in the Galilee, near the border with Lebanon. She has always been interested in languages, and even as a young girl wondered why children’s books and cartoons were all in fussha, which seemed to be too formal for the children, animals and other characters in such simple stories. She has lived and worked in Jerusalem, London and New York City.
Stephen Farrell is a journalist of Irish descent who was born and raised in London. He went to college in Scotland and has worked as a foreign correspondent in many countries around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
They are the parents of the real Sheherazade.
Fouad Mezher is a Lebanese illustrator who has worked in a variety of mediums. He studied graphic design in Beirut and his design background now informs his drawings. He likes working on comics and children’s books, as his favorite projects are those that tell a story. He illustrated ‘The Girl Who Lost Her Imagination,’ and is now working hard to add his vivid colors and characters to the story of ‘Where Shall I Hide?’
The Real Sheherazade
Sheherazade 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 Europe.
She was named after a statue of the fabled storyteller of 'Tales of 1001 Nights.’ That statue is on the banks of the River Tigris in Baghdad.
Her uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins live in the Middle East, Scandinavia and the British Isles.
Sheherazade says funny and clever things all the time, inspiring her parents to write them down and put them in their stories. She is the real inspiration behind these books.