As an Arab story teller at my local library, I get asked for Arabic or Arab world books to read to children in #OwnVoice and sadly, there are very few.
Most of the books about Arabs or the Arab world written for children in America, are not written by Arabs.
This is a big problem in the publishing world where, too often, books are written about the people inside them, by others looking in.
Here is a list I’ve compiled of books that are written in English that try to give a positive view of the Arab culture and evade stereotype. But in most of the situations, they hurt more in two ways. One is suppressing the voice of someone from the culture who could be making money from telling their own story. The second is that no matter how researched an author thinks they are in someone’s else’s world, they will always be the zookeeper describing what is happening behind the glass.
Feel free to contact the publishers and request that they support more stories from Arab voices.
(If you are an Arab author, my apologies for including you on this list, please contact me to remove your name/book and add you to this list of 99 Arab Children Books authors.)
Boueri, Marijean. Lebanon 1-2-3: A counting Book in Three Languages. Exeter, NH: Publishing Works, 2005.
Boueri, Marijean. Lebanon A to Z: a Middle Eastern mosaic. Exeter, NH: Publishing Works, 2005.
Brown, Tricia. Salaam: A Muslim American Boy’s Story. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2006.
Butler, Sean and Shannon. Issa and the Coin. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2007.
Campbell, CG. Folktales from Iraq. Philadelphia: Pine Street Books, 2005.
Carmi, D. Samir and Yonatan. New York: Arthur A. Levin Books, 2000.
Clements, Andrew. Temple Cat. New York: Clarion Books, 1996.
Climo, Shirley. Egyptian Cinderella. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
Clinton, C. A Stone in my Hand. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2002.
Cohen, Barbara. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons. New York: HarperTeen, 1994.
Cohen, Miriam. Layla’s Head Scarf. Cambridge, MA: Star Bright Books, 2009.
Colfer, Eoin. Benny and Omar. Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 2001.
da Costa, Deborah. Snow in Jerusalem. Morton Grove, IL : A. Whitman, 2001.
d’A Sales, Francesc. Ibrahim. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1989.
Devine, Barbara. Elvis the Camel. Northampton, MA: Crocodile Books, 2002.
Dunn, Patricia. Rebels by Accident. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Fire, 2008.
Ellis, Deborah. No Safe Place. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books, 2010.
Ellis, Deborah. Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2004.
Farmer, Nancy. Clever Ali. New York: Orchard Books, 2006.
Gedge, Pauline. Child of the Morning. Canada: Macmillan Company, 1977.
Geyer, Flora. Saladin: the Muslim warrior who defended his people. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006.
Gray, Nigel. A Balloon for Grandad. New York: Orchard Books, 1988.
Green, Nancy. Abu Kassim’s Slippers. Westchester, IL: Follett, 1963.
Grover, Wayne. Ali and the Golden Eagle. Littleton, CO: Sonlight Curriculum, 1997.
Hamilton, Martha. The Well of Truth: A Folktale from Egypt. Atlanta: August House, 2008.
Haskins, James. Count Your Way Through the Arab World. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1987.
Hawes, Louise. Muti’s Necklace: The Oldest Story in the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006.
Heide, Florence Perry and Judith Heide Gilliland. Days of Ahmed’s Secret. New York: Clarion, 1990.
Heide, Florence Perry and Judith Heide Gilliland. Sami and the Time of Troubles. New York: Clarion, 1992.
Henderson, Kathy. Lugalbanda: the boy who got caught up in a war. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006.
Henty, G.A. Cat of Bubastes. New York: Dover Publications, 2002.
Hickox, R. The Golden Sandal. New York: Holiday House, 1998.
Hirata, Shogo. Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Blue Bell, PA: Modern Publishing, 1995.
Hoffman, Mary. Colour of Home. London: Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2002.
Hughes, Vi. Aziz the Storyteller. Northampton, MA: Crocodile Books, 2002.
Ichikawa, Satomi. My Father’s Shop. La Jolla, CA: Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2004.
Johnson, Julia. A is for Arabia. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2005.
Johnson, Julia. A Gift of the Sands. Cowes, Isle of Wight: Medina Publishing, 2004.
Johnson, Julia. The Cheetah’s Tale. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2004.
Johnson, Julia. Humpy Grumpy Saves the Day. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2007.
Johnson, Julia. One Humpy Grumpy Camel. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2006.
Johnson, Julia. The Pearl Diver. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2003.
Johnson, Julia. Saluki, Hound of the Bedouin. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2005.
Johnson-Davies, D. Goha the Wise Fool. Dokki, Cairo: Hoopoe Books, 1993.
Johnson-Davies, D. Folk Tales of Egypt. Washingon, DC: Amideast, 1993.
Johnson-Davies, D. Stories from the Arab Past. Dokki, Cairo: Hoopoe Books, 1997.
Kimmel, Eric A. Joha makes a wish: a Middle Eastern tale. New York: Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010.
Kimmel, Eric A. Rimonah of the Flashing Sword. New York City, NY: Holiday House, 1995.
Kimmel, Eric A. Tale of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. New York City, NY: Holiday House, 1992.
Kimmel, Eric A. Three Princes. New York City, NY: Holiday House, 1994.
Knight, Margy Burns. Africa is Not a Country. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2000.
Krebs, Laurie. We’re Sailing Down the Nile. Cambridge, MA: Barefoot Books, 2007.
Laird, Elizabeth. A Fistful of Pearls ad other Tales from Iraq. London, UK: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2008.
Laird, Elizabeth. A Little piece of ground. Chicago, IL : Haymarket Books, 2006.
Lewin, T. The Storytellers. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1998.
MacDonald, Margaret Read. How many donkeys? An Arabic counting tale. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 2009.
MacDonald, Margaret Read. Tunjur Tunjur Tunjur. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children, 2006.
Mason, Prue. Camel Rider. Watertown, MA, Charlesbridge, 2007.
Matze, Claire Sidhom. The Stars in My Geddoh’s Sky. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 2000.
Mayer, Marianna. Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp. New York City, NY: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 1985.
McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. The Golden Goblet. London: Puffin Books, 1986.
McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. Mara, Daughter of the Nile. London: Puffin Books, 1985.
Morris, Ann. Grandma Hekmatt remembers: an Arab-American family story. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2003.
Nagda, Ann W. Dear Whiskers. New York: Holiday House, 2000.
Nicki, Peter. Crocodile, Crocodile. Northampton, MA: Crocodile Books, 1976.
Oppenheim, Shulamith. The Hundredth Name. Honesdale, PA: Boyd’s Mill, 1995.
Osborne, Mary Pope. Season of the sandstorms. New York: Random House, 2005.
Riordan, James. Tales from Arabian Nights. Edina MN: Checkerboard Books, 1985.
Rosenberg, Liz. Silence in the Mountains. London: Orchard Books, 1999.
Rumford, J. Traveling man: The journey of Ibn Battuta. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Rumford, James. Silent Music. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2008.
Sales, Francesc d’A. Ibrahim. New York: Lippincott, 1989.
Shefelman, J. A Peddler’s Dream. Austin, TX: Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
Sheffield, Marilyn. Fizza the Flamingo. Northampton, MA: Crocodile Books, 2003.
Shulevitz, Uri. The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Smith, Chris. One city, two brothers. Cambridge, MA : Barefoot Books, 2007.
Spalding, Elizabeth and Sarah. Dahman: The Mystery of the Champion Arabian Horse. Saudi Arabia: Al Mutawa Press, 2006.
Stamaty, Mark Alan. Alia’s mission: saving the books of Iraq. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.
Stanley, D. Saladin: Noble prince of Islam. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Stolz, J. The Shadows of Ghadames. New York. Delacorte Press, 2004.
Tondino-Gonguet, Grace. Halimah and the Snake And other Omani Folk Tales. London: Stacey International Publishers, 2008.
Wildsmith, Brian. Animals to Count. Long Island City, NY: Star Bright Books, 2009.
Wilkes, Sybella. Out of Iraq. London, UK: Evans Brothers Limited, 2010.
Winter, Jeanette. The librarian of Basra: a true story from Iraq. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc, 2005.
Wolf, Bernard. Coming to America. New York: Lee & Low Books, 2003.
Zeman, L. Sindbad: From the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights. Toronto, Ontario: Tundra Books, 1999.
YA/NA Books about the Arab World (not written by Arabs)
Blanchard, Anne. Arab Science and Invention in the Golden Age. New York City, NY: Enchanted Lion Books, 2009.
Ellis, Deborah. Children of War. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books, 2009.
Raatma, Lucia. Queen Noor: American-born queen of Jordan. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books, 2006.
Whitesides, Barbara. Sugar Comes from Arabic. Northampton, MA: Interlink Books, 2009.
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