White Ravens: Lebanon

5 books      

Lebanon (Arabic) - 2004 - 244
Mahīdlī, Nabīha (text)
Aṣīl, Luǧaina al- (illus.)
Gassān ya‘rif māhuwa ahlā makān
(Gassan knows the most beautiful place)
Beirut : Dar al-Hādā’iq, 2002. [16] p.
(Maktabatī al-ūlā ; 4)
Child – Grandmother – Nature – Security – Home
This picture book deals with two essential (and sometimes conflicting) experiences of children: the desire to explore the world and the reassuring feeling of being at home somewhere. Gassan lives in his grandmother’s house. One morning, he sets off to search for »the most beautiful place« of the village. During his ‘expedition’, he passes a mountain, a garden full of animals, a valley, and a river. Each time, he is convinced that exactly this place is the loveliest of them all – until he returns home again, hugs his grandmother, and says: »All the places in the village are beautiful, but my favourite place is here with you!« The Syrian artist has illustrated the text with tender and cheerful drawings. (4+)

Lebanon (Arabic) - 2005 - 245
Rizqallāh’, ‘Adlī (text/illus.)
Hikāyat šagartān
(The tale of the two trees)
Bairūt : Asāla, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 9953-445-83-4
Religion – Islam – Christianity – Peace – Tolerance
Lebanon is a country where different ethnic groups, religions, and cultures coexist. The scars of the civil war that the country had to endure for 16 years before it finally ended in 1991 are slowly healing. This picture book is a plea for Christian and Muslim people to live together in peace. A mosque and a church are standing side by side, yet they are completely separate. In front of each building, a tree is growing. Thanks to the sun’s powerful rays, the two treetops grow towards each other until their boughs intertwine. Small children will easily understand the symbolism of this simple tale. (5+) ☆

Lebanon (French) - 2007 - 104
Japy-Fahed, Marie-Noëlle (text)
Taan, Yasmine (illus.)
Deux plumes et un voyage : une histoire
(Two feathers and a journey : a story)
Jounieh : Ed. Kédémos, 2005. 22 p.
(Collection Un poète raconte ...)
ISBN 9953-83-083-5
Journey – Happiness – Painting – Feather
This picture book about a young man’s journey of initiation is dedicated »to all children who set off in search of their dreams«. The son of a carpet dealer leaves his parents’ home to find happiness. He dreams of earning his money by painting the portraits of fancy queens. When he realises that his paint box is empty, he feels lost. Yet a bird comforts the boy and advises him that nature is full of colours if only he can find them. The bird hands the boy two feathers – one will enable him to fly away, the other one will provide him with whatever he most longs for. Thus, the young man continues his journey until he finds true happiness. The poetical story encourages readers not to give up too soon and keep their eyes open for their own share of happiness. (5+)

Lebanon (Arabic) - 2007 - 243
Muḥīdilī, Nabīha (text)
Zahr-ad-Dīn, Ḥassān (illus.)
Mādā yurīdu Yāsīr an yaqūlu?
(What is Yasser trying to say?)
[Bairut] : Dār al-Ḥadā’ik, 2006. [20] p.
ISBN 9953-464-00-6
Child – Emotions – Fury – Anger – Crying
Little Yasser is quite a cry-baby. Even minor things easily upset him, and tears are his only means to express his worries and fears, his wishes and anger. When his parents leave him at home alone or whenever he screws things up or breaks something, words simply seem to fail him. Taking the boy’s story as an example, this picture book encourages children to think about themselves and about how they deal with their own feelings. The lively colour illustrations accompanying the simple text emphasise the characters’ gestures and facial expressions. Thus, the child’s adventures and his emotional world are commented on in an amusing and ironical way. (5+)

Lebanon (Arabic) - 2007 - 244
Tūmā, Nadīn R. L. (text)
Maḥmūd, Arīǧ (illus.)
Hal hadihi ṣūra šamsīya?
(Is this a passport photo?)
Bairūt : Dār Qunbuz, 2005. [56] p. + CD
ISBN 9953-465-01-0
Perception – Curiosity – Question
This book asks a number of unusual questions, such as »Are leaves the trees’ noses?« or »Why doesn’t a ladder connect the earth and the sky?« At first glance, these questions may seem bizarre, yet they are actually just an invitation to explore the world with open eyes and a lot of curiosity. Readers will have to find the answers themselves, assisted by imaginative, vivid black-and-white drawings aesthetically reminiscent of comic strips and animated films. On many of the double pages, pictures are arranged next to each other similar to cartoon sequences. In addition to the questions and pictures, the book also includes an audio CD with atmospheric, mysterious electronic sounds underlining this picture book’s playful nature. (8+)