What started as a fun project we wrote for our children turned into something we never thought would materialise. How did this fun project begin?
I bought a lot of books for my child even before I ever imagined writing books of my own. All around my child’s bedroom, I had different books of the English alphabet from magnetic books, lift-the-flap books and fun card games. It was no surprise she mastered the alphabet along with its phonetics by the age of 2.
I did not have the same success with the Arabic alphabet. Our Islamic children’s book market did not have the type of resources I was hoping to use with my child. As an English and Literature teacher, I loved how I was able to teach stories every day and loved how transformational stories could be. I wanted to combine the power of storytelling with the Arabic alphabet. “Wouldn’t that make the alphabet more memorable?” I thought. I knew what I didn’t want and that was rote learning, drilling and memorisation. I wanted it to be fun, creative and addictive – something that my child would want to grab again and again.
The plus point of writing stories is that we not only get to subtly teach the alphabet to our children, but we also have the ability to weave in other elements to make the stories much richer – by including stories grounded in our deen. Together with my sister, we embarked on our quest of intertwining the Arabic alphabet into children’s literature.
Alhamdulillah, since it was first published in 2017, the Arabic Alphabet Series has been well-received. Many parents attest to how it really helped their children learn their letters and how their children could not just stop at one book.
The book sets garnered a lot of interest worldwide and we were very excited to share our hard work with families who shared the same values. Our excitement was short-lived when we realised that shipping the books would be such a costly endeavour. We had enquiries from so many countries, some we didn’t even know would want to stock Islamic children’s books but due to the shipping cost, our book sets were sold mainly in Singapore and in countries in our region.
We hope with this reprint, we can get our Arabic Alphabet Book sets into more homes worldwide inshaAllah. Those who already have our sets love it and we hope to spread it to even more homes. We are working hard to secure distributors and wholesalers to make it possible for the books to be available in more countries.
Alhamdullilah, now we have a steady collection of growing books that is rooted from our oral story-telling tradition. All these wonderful stories we’ve heard as children and even as adults in our religious classes are stories we want to put forth for the following generation to read and love. Some are written in rhyme with cute animal characters for the little ones to adore and others are stories inspired from the past that generate rich discussion with the children.
We hope to build book lovers, grounded in the Islamic faith, minute by minute, page by page and day by day.