In celebration of World Kid Lit Month, Words Without Borders has run a feature by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp on international books for young readers interested in history, and they have also resurfaced older translations of classic children’s books, including Marilyn Booth’s translation of الكتكوت ليس كلبا by Jar al-Nabi al-Hilw, with illustrations by Helmi Eltouni.
The book, published by Dar al-Shorouk (Amira Aboulmagd of Dar al-Shorouk is pictured with the book), is clearly a house favorite.
In Marilyn’s translation, the book opens:
We live in the big house, all of us—men and women, boys and girls, and my mother and me.
My mother captures all my attention. And she’s ruled my heart too.
I watch my mother no matter where she is: for she’s the one who brings the hammer and pounds the nail into the wall so she can hang up a picture of my father.
And she’s the one who sends me off to buy half a kilo of cement and half a kilo of gypsum. Then she makes a paste. She closes up all the holes in the house and repairs all the cracks.
She makes the house the way it is, and keeps it nice, and gets the food ready, and sits on the roof among the chickens and roosters and rabbits and ducks.