Monday, July 13, 2020

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Best Arabic Children's Books Online (USA, UK and worldwide)

Like many other Arab parents living in the west (the UK), I quickly came to realize the lack of (or difficult access to) good Arabic children’s books online. After lots of research and trying many many sources, I decided to collect all the best places to find these books and stories online. Some are free, some paid. Some of these are in Egyptian or other dialects while some are in Fus-ha or standard Arabic, or both. So let’s jump right in! I will include online resources as well as websites you can buy books from. The first 2 resources are really interesting in that they offer audio reading of stories in Arabic lively voice.

1- Tuta Tuta توته توته

I started with this one because it is my favorite and offers many free Arabic stories in a new creative way. There is a lot of work done by them so let me tell you about what you can expect (I am not affiliated with Tuta Tuta and I don’t personally know them). Their Youtube channel is great: they have many famous international stories narrated in Egyptian Arabic for free! Some of the titles are very well known such as the Gruffalo, Cinderella and room on the broom and others. You can also listen to an audio or download an Arabic pdf (found under each video) of the translation and you can glue it on the English books if you have them (this is what I personally do so I can choose which language to read). The translation is not just a literal cold one but it uses a simple clever sentences that also rhyme!

The owner (Riham Shendy) also makes videos where she talks about the importance of reading for children and presents scientific studies that shows benefits of reading. She also makes the case that kids should start learning their local dialect as their parents before they start learning Fus-ha because they will be using the dialect in their day to day life and hence, kids’ stories should also be available in their dialect.
Lastly, they have published a book that contains Arabic versions of some of the most popular “international folktales”, but, here is the thing, they are not just translated but adapted to Egypt, as if the story happened in Egypt, which I find amazing!

page of English book with Arabic translation
I print the Arabic pdf file with each video and glue it on the original English book so I can read for my child.

2- Tell me a story! Ehky Le hadota إحكِ لي حدوتة

Another free resource with such admirable effort by just one person! Amal Alaa Eddin started this Facebook page and she records stories with her voice while the book pages show on video, some in both Standard Arabic and Egyptian dialect but in a fun and simple way that children like. The page has more than 20,000 likes and the recordings are of high quality. Click here to visit: Tell Me a Story إحك لي حدوته. There are many other similar channels on Youtube which I think are helping close a certain gap in Arabic Children’s books or stories but this is the one I have used. Here is one of theirs.

Buy Arabic Children’s Books Online

Maktabtee

مكتبتي or “my library” is a nice project started by two moms living in America and you can buy Arabic books online from their website . They noticed how many of the Arabic stories for kids are kind of outdated with poor graphics compared to the plethora of available children’s literature in English. Maktabtee curates only high quality and “relevant” books for kids of all ages (from baby to older children) as well as educational material like flash cards, etc. They ship to everywhere but check fees according to your country.

Al Salwa Books السلوى

Al Salwa is an independent publisher for some of the best children authors in Arabic. Their books are well written and the illustrations feels modern and attractive for the young eyes. They are based in Jordan but you can order from anywhere.

Neel wa Furat

You might have heard about this one already but in case you haven’t: it is the largest Arabic online bookshop. They sell eBooks as well as actual books. Because it is so huge, I usually go there if I am looking for a specific book that I can’t find anywhere.

Ossass

Ossass means stories in Arabic, it is a new initiative started by 2 parents living in the west. They decided to start writing stories for their daughters in their mother tongue and have so far published 2 books, each book is available in both Egyptian and Levantine (Shami) dialects.

Ketab

Ketab is an online bookstore that is based in London and directed at Arabic readers in the West. I have not personally used them yet. The website also says they provide learning aids for people/kids with special needs. The Children’s section has a large collection or Arabic and Islamic books. They have books by some publishers mentioned in this page so you could compare the same book prices on different websites as it might differ depending on shipping.

Al Saqi (UK)

Saqi is an independent publisher based in Lebanon but they also have a bookstore in London, United Kingdom. You can also buy books online at their website. I like visiting them every now and then to find new books. They don’t specialize in Children’s books but have a decent section.

Jarir USA

The well-known Saudi bookstore has its own branch in the US (they have an actual store in California) but you can of course order worldwide. Worth exploring if you are in America or looking for specific books.

And now over to you: if you know any other websites/other sources that should be added to this list, please let me know in the comments section below or by email. You can also find us on social media where we are building a community of Arabic learners and enthusiasts.
Thank you and I hope this was helpful.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

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Talking About Types of Weather in Arabic

This is going to be a complete guide to talking about the weather in Arabic. We will talk about both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and also the Egyptian dialect. You will learn the different types of weather in Arabic, how to ask and talk about it, the forecast and also the seasons. It is a great conversation started and for small talk but also useful in day to day. Before we start forming sentences let’s learn some basic words.

Weather Conditions in Arabic

EnglishArabicPronunciation
The weatherالطقس
الجو
attaqs
aljaw
The climateالمناخalmonakh
Sunnyمشمسmoshmes
Hotحارhar (7ar)
Coldباردbared
Freezing!مثلجmothlej
Rainingممطرmomter
Warmدافيءdafe2/dafee

Asking about the weather

This is straightforward. You could either ask:
What is the weather today? in Arabic, this is:
ما هو الطقس اليوم؟
or, how is the weather now?
كيف هو الطقس الآن؟

The weather tomorrow
الطقس غدا

The weather forecast
النشره الجويه

The temperature
درجة الحراره

The first is more correct. Now using the Egyptian dialect:
What is the weather like today?
الجو عامل ازاي النهارده؟

drawing of different weathers in English translated to Arabic

Describing The Weather in Arabic

If you want to describe it as a cold weather in Arabic you could use one of the following:
الجو بارد
الطقس بارد
إنه يوم بارد (it is a cold day), yes you can use the day.

For hot weather you can use:

  • الطقس حارٌّ
  • إنه يوم حارٌُ جدًا Note that I chose to say “very hot” by adding the word: جدا

    More ways to describe the weather:
  • الطقس جميل The weather is beatiful
  • الطقس سيء The weather is bad
    You could also use the following adjectives:
  • معتدل moderate or stable
  • متقلب unstable
  • Bright مشرق
  • Cloudy غائم
  • Windy عاصف
  • raining يمطر
  • The sky is clear السماء صافيه

    Now let’s look at the Egyptian dialect:
  • You could say الدنيا بتشتي (el donia bteshty) = it is raining. Notice that this is derived from the word for winter in Arabic.
  • To say it is cold or hot you could say الجو برد or الجو حرّ. Notice that we just removed the vowel from the original standard word.
  • الجو مغيم means it is cloudy
  • الجو هوا means it is windy

More weather vocabulary

  • The shade الظل
  • Heatwave موجة حاره
  • Ice جليد
  • Below zero تحت الصفر
  • Celsius مئويه
  • Storm عاصفه
  • Hurricane إعصار
  • Cloud سحابه
  • Humidity رطوبه
  • Season فصل
  • Thunder رعد (pronounced raad/ra3d)
  • Lightning برق (barq)

    There are also some verbs that commonly describe some of the weather conditions. For example, a storm “hits” تضرب a place. The rain descends which could be translated into (present tense)
    يسقط المطر
    or
    يهطل المطر

The seasons in Arabic:

  • Winter الشتاء
  • Summer الصيف
  • Autumn الخريف
  • Spring الربيع

I hope you found this lesson useful. If you have any requests about weather related phrases in Arabic or questions about this post please leave them in the comments section below. Also don’t forget to join the Facebook page and group where we will be posting regular lessons and tips and allows better communication and feedback.

Thank you.

Mennah