We're Reem and Nabih, founders of Dardasha Books. Dardasha Books was created to foster the love of the Arabic language and to encourage its early development through casual education and everyday conversation (“Dardasha”).
Living in a multicultural world, we speak from experience when we acknowledge just how hard it was to learn Arabic, particularly when the environment around us and our education was predominantly focused in a different language.
When our son Iyad was born, we wanted to honor his mother tongue and create an environment in which learning it was much more accessible and natural than in our own experiences. However, we struggled to find early education Arabic books that met a certain criteria that research has shown is most effective for young children: simple, realistic, and baby-friendly. So we decided to make them ourselves! Our Picture Books series were carefully designed and developed based on this research in that they limit each page to a single word and image, use photographs in lieu of illustrations, and are made with thick board book pages that are easy for small hands to handle without creasing or tears! We went one step further with the parent in mind and provided the English transliteration under each word so the teaching and learning of the Arabic words was not limited to those who could read them.
We were shocked at just how quickly Iyad began to recognize the objects in the books and correlate them to the world around him, and how much his vocabulary and language developed as he continued to make those connections. Thus our love for early language development was born (with Iyad, our guinea pig).
The next step for us was into the world of Story Books and, once again, we dove into a depth of research to understand why some books are favored over others and seem to be more engaging and attractive to young children. The answer was a combination of rhyme, rhythm, relatability, and amazing illustrations. Each of our books is carefully crafted with all of these in mind.
When it came to the ever-polarizing topic of Al-Fusha vs. Colloquial Arabic, we made a conscious decision to utilize Al-Fusha to the extent we felt appropriate, but decided to include some more colloquial words where we felt it would make our books more fun, relatable, or simply to assist with rhyming! Of course, we encourage all readers to adjust the language in the books to their preferences and their child’s needs.
Being a care giver is hard enough. Toddlers are natural communicators – verbally or otherwise – and we found that the quicker we were able to give Iyad the tools he needed to effectively communicate his needs, the quicker we were able to diffuse any frustration or feelings of helplessness.
We are so excited to share these tools with you, and we hope our books not only help nurture your child's language development, but also offer you the opportunity to bond with your child and harness their love for the Arabic language.
All our love and happy reading!
Reem & Nabih (& Iyad)