Not reading the text gives a very bad example of disrespecting the text of the book
It all started when Riham Shendy, Author of Kan Yama Kan, noticed the scarcity of children books in “Aameya” or colloquial Egyptian Arabic. Something which resulted in parents having to overlook the text because the children are too young to understand “Fus-ha” or classical Arabic, “not reading the text gives a very bad example of disrespecting the text of the book,” Riham explains. And if one was to read in classical Arabic, it would mean having to take plenty of breaks to explain in words more accessible for children. “I was so burdened by having to constantly translate the text to my kids, which made me lazy to read,” she continues, “I was also unable to read rhyme books, because I would have to translate them and thus lose the rhyme as I altered words into colloquial and changed the sentence structure.” That is, in addition to the fact that sometimes reading in classical Arabic during the intimate setting of bedtime stories strips familiarity away from the experience, “it can make it more instructional than leisurely,” Riham elaborates.
Knowing the true value of mother-tongue education, and understanding the importance of children having books that spoke to them in the familiar, casual tones they are most used to, Riham knew she had to do something.
I wanted to meet kids halfway. I wanted them to see characters they already know and like, but in a new way
Thus, Riham decided to write her own children’s book. She wanted to enrich the colloquial library for children quickly. That is why she decided on a collection of stories, instead of just the one. Then came the time to choose which stories to be written, and Riham was torn between Egyptian or international folk stories. “I decided on international ones which kids may already be familiar with. I wanted to meet kids halfway. I wanted them to see characters they already know and like, but in a new way,” Riham tells. This approach resulted in eight delightful international folk tales, which all kids know and love. The stories are told in a lovely colloquial language which is familiar and easy for children to understand.
Kan Yama Kan, which was self-published by Riham, has been incredibly well-received. Children and adults alike both fell in love with the book’s gorgeous illustrations, simple language, and captivating stories. We cannot recommend it enough, especially if you have young children who appreciate a good bedtime story!
You can buy Kan Yama Kan through the website www.tuta-tuta.com as well as in the following bookstores:
- Diwan Bookstores
- Balsam Bookstore (Dokki)
- Adam Bookstore (Maadi)
And it is available on the following apps:
- Kidzapp Egypt
For more information, check out https://www.instagram.com/tutatuta.childrenbooksinarabic/