This Week in Diversity: Arabic and Integration

Here at Lee & Low, we’ve recovered from Thanksgiving and are gearing up for holidays and the new year. We hope you have fabulous celebrations this winter! As usual, we have some suggested readings for your Friday afternoon. Enjoy!

Time magazine starts us off with an interesting feature about Arab Americans in Detroit, and how they offer hope for recovery to one of the hardest-hit cities in the country.

Meanwhile, there’s an effort to bring Western classics to Arabic-speaking countries: Penguin Classics are to be translated into Arabic. Literature is a great bridge, bringing people together, so its great to see books being translated to better provide common ground between people and cultures. Who can stay angry when you’re both laughing at the ridiculousness of Don Quixote?

Last month saw the fiftieth anniversary of the historic integration of Southern schools. In a poignant essay, Ruby Bridges—who was escorted to primary school by US Marshals as she became the first Black student in her school—reflects on that first day, her first white teacher, and why she’s still fighting to integrate that school.

Speaking of integration anniversaries, Google recognized the fifty-fifth anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus with a beautiful Doodle:

And our last link for today comes from Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin, explaining why he buys his children any book they ask for.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these articles (or Doodles), so please come back here and comment.

Have a great weekend!

4 thoughts on “This Week in Diversity: Arabic and Integration”

  1. Just want to note that many/most of the Penguin classics already exist in Arabic translation. The Penguin project will consolidate, maybe revise translations, add new forwards, etc. And have the standard Penguin cover, of course.

    Also, the new co-house aims to translate classics from the Arabic into the English.

  2. I like the Doodles. I have four kids and they always discuss the Doodles, which is almost always a good thing.

    I’ll have to look into what books are being translated into Arabic. Some books are better representatives than others of the West. I met a man from Paris once. He told me that whenever he wants a taste of the US, he goes to EuroDisney. Really? I’m not sure that’s how I want to be represented.

    My former next door neighbor was translating books into Arabic for awhile…best sellers. She said there was a real demand for the books by women in her culture, but they had complaints about some of the stories that took place in the Arabic world.

  3. I’d love to see more Middle-Eastern illustrators sharing their work in Western picture books. I follow several Iranian illustrators’ blogs, and I’m always impressed with their talent.

    Thanks for posting!

    Jed Henry
    Illustrator of New York Times Bestseller, CAN’T WAIT TILL CHRISTMAS

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