Recommending Palestinian Kid Lit: ‘Why Do I Read?’

Reviewed by Elisabet Risberg, translated by Eva Apelqvist

Written by Anas Abu Rahma

Illustrated by Baraa Awoor

Formatting by Lubna Taha

Published by Dinason, 2021

Earlier this year, I visited Palestine and got to meet illustrator Lubna Taha. She and her husband, author Anas Abu Rahmah, have been creating amazing books for many years and it was good to see that they have taken their work a step further with their own publishing company, Dinason.

One of the books that I brought home with me was  لماذا اقرأ؟, or Why Do I Read?, which in both format and content reminded me a little of Unnecessary Advice for Young Readers, which I have written about before. I view Why Do I Read? as something of a continuation of Anis Abu Rahma’s musings about the meaning of reading, and he does it so well! On the surface, the book looks simple with only a few words on each page, without a single superfluous word. But the book consists of small philosophical observations that bring to mind my own reading; why I read and what reading means to me. The text also prompts our imagination to come up with its own reasons. Illustrator Baraa Awoor wonderfully complements the short lines of text with her creative illustrations that well demonstrate how reading opens a door to a bigger world.

Here are a few examples from the book:

Why Do I Read?

To be able to smell the forest in my hands.

To get out of my room!

To get to know my language.

To grow seeds on the planet Mars.

To get to enjoy something once again.

Check out Dinason’s Facebook page to see some examples of the work that this publishing house does.

Anas Abu Rahma lives and works in Ramallah. He writes for children of different ages, has garnered attention with many awards and nominations. He may be best known for his collaboration with illustrator Lubna Taha. Together they have created many amazing picture books, published by a number of well-known publishing houses, both in Palestine and outside. Anas Abu Rahma has also contributed to the anthology The Book of Ramallah.

Baraa Alawoor is a well-known illustrator from Gaza. Her illustrations can be found at many children’s books publishers around the Arab speaking world. She was one of the winners of the Mahmoud Kahlil Award 2022. Here is a link to her page on


Elisabet Risberg is a Swedish librarian reading Arabic children’s literature. Find her at @arabarnlitt on Instagram and at her blog,, where this review first appeared in Swedish.