2019 Shortlists for Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature

Prize announcements continued Wednesday as the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature announced shortlists in five categories:

The five shortlists — for best text, best illustrations, best production, best book, and young adult — were announced on the opening day of the Frankfurt International Book Fair.

There were only three books shortlisted for this year’s YA category: Taghreed Najjar’s Whose Doll Is This, a compelling novel set between Chicago, Jaffa, and Beirut that follows the fate of a doll left behind when Arwa’s grandma fled her Jaffa home in 1948; Fatima Sharafeddine’s Plump Mila, about a girl’s struggles with anorexia; and Me and the Crew by Mais Dagher, ill. the acclaimed Lena Merhej, about a boy named Ibrahim who’s bullied after he discovers a secret.

The four-book shortlist in the “Best Book of the Year” category includes: Abu Karkouba, by Nabiha Muhaidli and ill. Walid Taher (Dar al-Hadaek); With All the Love in My Heart, by Anas Abu Rahma and ill. Lubna Taha (Palestine Writing Workshop); Damascus: The Story of a City, by Alaa Murtada (Dar al-Balsam); and A Story about “س” and “ل,” also by Anas Abu Rahma, ill. Lubna Taha (The National Publishing House of Jordan).

The four-book shortlist in the “Best Text” category includes: Abu Karkouba, written by Nabiha Muhaidli and ill. Walid Taher (Dar al-Hadaek); Damascus: The Story of a City, by Alaa Murtada (Dar al-Balsam); Everything’s Going to Be Okay, by Mohamed El-Atabi, ill. Ali Shamseddine (Dar al-Hadaek); For One Simple Reason!, by Samar Taher ill. Sasha Haddad (Dar Asala).

The four-book shortlist in the “Best Illustrations” category includes: I Fly by Dr. Amani Saad Alnajem, ill. Khalid Zaini (Alif Ba Ta Publishing); Bows of Friendship, by Fatima Hamad Al Mazroui, ill. Walid Taher and Mohammed Ibrahim (Hudhud Publishing and Distribution); Doll House, by Jakeer Khorshid, ill. Faris Gara Beat (Dar Rabie); and Day of Fairy Tales, by Khawla Ali Mohammed, ill. Ghazala Picadillo (Dar al-Buraq Children’s Culture).

In the category of “Best Production,” the four-book shortlist includes: Abu Karkouba, by Nabiha Muhaidli and ill. Walid Taher (Dar al-Hadaek); Island of the Blessed Seas, by Walid Taher (Yanbow Al Kitab); Sanjoob and the Spilt Milk, by Haifa Mohareb Sawarka, Ill. Javiera MacLean, (Salwa Books); and Damascus: The Story of a City, by Alaa Murtada (Dar al-Balsam).

A shortlist was not announced for the “Best Silent Book” category.

Prize organizers reported that this year they had received 175 submissions from around the world, and that winners in all categories — including the new “Best Silent Book” category — would be announced at the opening ceremony of the Sharjah International Book Fair 2019, on October 30, 2019.

The 1.2 million AED in prize money (approximately USD $325,000) is divided between authors, illustrators, and publishers.

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