Jehan Helou, President of The International Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and the founder of the Tamer Institute, believes that in the recent years many book fairs have been convened in Arab countries with exceptional focus on works for children that can prompt publishers into acting in the field and publishing finer works for children.
Children’s Literature Prominent in Arabic Expos: Jehan Helou
IBNA: Addressing a ceremony arranged in Tehran on the occasion of the 51st anniversary of formation of the Children’s Book Council in Iran, Helou expressed astonishment and happiness to see the great vigor and enthusiasm in Iran regarding books, especially  children's books, and said the vigor will definitely lead to promotion of children’s publications in the country.

The ceremony was held in the presence of a number of writers, poets, publishers and illustrators of children’s books, and Jehna Helou as the special guest of the gathering.

She further said works addressing children have been primarily inspired by old stories, however, there is still a lot that remains to be done in this part of the world. She said storytellers all around the globe have always created heroes that need to beat enemies, which led to formation of the written literature for children and young adults.

Helou went on to say that oral stories by storytellers have been the source of written children’s literature which conveyed mostly ethical codes while keeping children entertained. 

She further reviewed the history of children’s literature and storytelling, and added that in the 30s and 40s, radio programs were produced addressing children in Palestine and a number of stories came into prominence.

The first turning point in this regard was the formation of the Liberation Front of Palestine when the first education institute of Tamer, she added, saying there are not publishers in Palestine and civil institute like the Tamer publisher books.

Institutes like Tamer train illustrators and writers of children’s books and enjoy worldwide support, she stated.

Helou underlined the significance of forming a network of the institutes active in children’s literature, and said many such institutes in Egypt and Lebanon have existed for a long time while being unknown to each other.

Many book fairs have been held in various Arabic countries in recent years with special focus on children’s books which can motivate publishers to release works for children and young adults. 

Jehan Helou was born in Haifa, Palestine, in 1943, but her family were made refugees in 1948. They moved to Lebanon, where Jehan was to grow up. She was one of five sisters, and her father, who himself had not received a good education, was determined that all his daughters would get the best possible education. Jehan did not disappoint him. 

She went on to study at the American University in Beirut, then worked in the Institute of Palestine Studies, starting literacy campaigns among women and children in the refugee camps, establishing libraries and kindergartens.
Story Code : 195886
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