Campaign successfully funded on: 18 Nov,2013
“Hikayati” is a series of wordless picture books designed for kids between zero and three years old. These wordless tales allow each family to own the story it tells, to constantly reinvent and re-imagine it from simple images, and to stretch the limits of their imagination.
What’s unique about “Hikayati” is the regional character of the imagery. We’re paying particular attention to how each image relates to our culture and heritage, while maintaining the universality of each book. Storytelling is part and parcel of Arab culture, and we hope that each book “told” will transform the teller into a modern day hakawati.
The “Hikayati” series goes beyond picture books in that it incorporates sensory elements. Kids might lift a flap of printed tent fabric to see what’s hidden behind it. They can trace their little fingers across traditional embroidery to get a feel for the intricate stitching, and they can peek around grandpa’s hatta for a funny surprise. When it comes to your child’s development, you get the benefits of participatory storytelling and sensory stimulation at one go.
We’re passionate about kids’ books… really ,really passionate. Through our work and in our personal lives, we both noticed that quality tactile books in Arabic for the zero to three age group were sometimes hard to come by. Wordless tactile books are virtually non-existent. Wordless tactile books that are regionally relevant…well, don’t get us started!
You might be asking why this particular category of books? Wordless books are important because they invite a greater level of interaction between parents and their children. You don’t read a story, you tell a story. You make it up as you go along, using language that is relevant to the two of you. Wordless books require both parents and children to get creative, be inventive and stretch themselves beyond someone else’s text.
For starters, we are firm believers in the power of early childhood language exposure (both from research and personal experience). The more you talk to children in the early years, the better their linguistic development. Also, the more fun you have together bonding over books, the more likely your child is to grow up with a love of reading. So the first, somewhat obvious, social impact to “Hikayati” is that the series contributes towards developing a love of books.
Because “Hikayati” is a wordless book series, it opens up the world of children’s books to families with varying literacy levels. Across the Arab world, there are many parents who struggle with the printed word but who would otherwise jump at the chance of introducing their very young children to the world of books. Hikayati can be a stepping stone for many of these families, and we will be working diligently on finding ways to best reach these families and making these books available to them.
Finally, we are firm believers in local production as we believe work opportunities can empower communities. We will be seeking ways to make local expertise and craftsmanship a part of the production process.
Since we can’t find these kinds of books anywhere, and because we wholeheartedly believe in their importance, we've decided to produce them ourselves. And so, we’re planning on raising 7,000USD to that end.
The 7,000USD raised will go to cover the cost of:
- Hiring an illustrator
- Purchasing raw materials for book production
- Producing the prototypes for the first couple of books in the series. Since these are tactile books, a large portion of production is manual
- Applying for copyright and ISBN and covering legal fees
Any remaining amount will go towards production of the first print run.
Of course, we would love any financial contribution you’re willing to make, but equally important is your moral support. If you like the project, please don’t hesitate to show us the love by sharing it with your friends and network on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+. Your support means the world to us, and to show you just how much, we’ve arranged for some great thank you gifts!
Aya Khairy is a ten year veteran of the education field, using her knowledge of academia in both her professional and personal life. Aya studied Economics at McGill University, and was most recently the Senior Manager for Programming and Administration at the Columbia University Middle East Research Centre. Aya’s professional expertise and her love for culture and travel led her to live and work in four different countries since her graduation. She is currently a member of the board of advisors and a volunteer at the Youth Association for Reality and Awareness in Amman, Jordan. She is also a mother of two, and passionate about making books and education accessible to children.
Rania El Turk has had extensive experience in the field of education, having started her career, many many years ago, as an English teacher. She holds an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University, and a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. Her most recent position was Program Manager at the Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation in the UAE. Passionate about early childhood literacy, she decided to branch out on her own and founded ReadingStart. ReadingStart’s philosophy is “get them while they’re young!” The program promotes reading with children from birth, and focuses on the years between 0 and three. Although she is not yet a mother, she does read an unusually large amount of picture books…
*Elements for images by Harper Finch
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