To survive, you must tell stories.” The great novelist Umberto Eco once said. Stories don’t just entertain us, they enlighten us, reassure us, and help us understand this big dilemma called life. That is exactly what Aya Dorgham and Maha Fathi had in mind when they started “Hadoota” two years ago; a children’s book club which aims to deliver powerful moral messages through storytelling. One of their sessions was held under the title “Divorce Storytelling”. Children gathered with their parents, We interviewed co-founder Aya Dorgham and she told us all about it.
Tell us about yourself, Hadoota Book Club and what inspired you to start it.
We are Maha Fathi and Aya Dorgham, two mothers, who have a thing (or more) for books! We created the “Hadoota Book Club” two years ago because we believe that storytelling can have such an influential impact on children. It widens their minds to all different topics in a simple and heartfelt way.
What age groups do you accept?
Reading starts from Day 1. We accept children from as young as a few months old till 12 years old.
What other activities does the book club do?
Based on the theme of the event, we add more fun ways to incorporate children’s happiness with books.
Tell us about the divorce storytelling activity and why you decided on this topic.
Maha’s personal experience was what initially exposed us to how storytelling and books can help children of divorced parents be more aware of their new family structure, understand the mixed emotions of this phase, and feel accepted and loved no matter what. That is exactly what we also wanted to deliver through our Divorce Storytelling Event that took place at Diwan Bookstores. We have received great reception on Social Media as soon as the event was announced, showing how this controversial topic was much needed for young kids. And then the emotions and tears we have seen from parents, and the attentive and inquisitive faces we got from the children throughout the event were enough for us to know how the books we have read influenced them and answered questions going on in their minds. Children left with smiles and parents with relief!
Did all children who participated have separated parents?
No, a beautiful mother has actually brought her children just because she wanted them to be more aware of diverse types of families and to accept their differences.
How was storytelling used in the book club?
It is the core activity of Hadoota. We use different sensorial factors to do it too, like sound effects, for example, to rouse their imagination and keep their attention for as long as the story lasts.
How did the children react to the story?
Amazingly! As we read one of the stories, one child exclaimed, “so that’s why mama and baba don’t live together?”, and another said, “today is my birthday and both my parents are here for me because they love me.”
If you wish to enroll your child, check their Instagram: @7adootabookclub.