Another addition to our series! We've been asking the authors and illustrators of our current and upcoming titles about their favorite childhood books . . . and as a bonus we asked for photos of them as kids! Meet Maya Abu-Alhayyat, author of the upcoming book, The Blue Pool of Questions, then and now:
Maya is an award-winning Palestinian novelist, poet, and children’s book writer. She has published three collections of poetry: Home Dresses and Wars (Dar Alahlyah, 2016), This Smile, That Heart (Dar Raya, 2012), What She Said about Him (House of Poetry & Qattan Foundation, 2007); and three novels: Bloodtype (Dar el-Adab, 2013), Grains of Sugar (House of Poetry, 2004), and Threshold of Heavy Spirit (Ogarit, 2011); as well as several children’s books. Her writing has been featured in international journals and magazines and has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, and Korean. Since 2013 Maya has worked as the director of the Palestinian Writing Workshop in Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children.
Maya has provided a list of her favorite children's books, but not ones from her childhood because, she writes, "I didn't have access to children's books when I was a kid." Maya goes on to explain, "I was raised in the diaspora without my father or mother, who were separated when I was one year old. I lived with my aunt, who was poor, and reading was not a priority. Later, I lived with my father in Tunis. He was afraid that books and reading would make me who I am today :-)." Maya's novel, Bloodtype, explains her complex story and is currently looking for a home with an English-language publisher.
Maya's favorite children's books:
Haltabis Haltabis حلتبيس حلتبيس by Rani Sghair
The Story of The Squash قصة الكوسا by Samah Idress
Is this a Photo هل هذه صورة شمسية by Nadin Touma
Hazzur Umm Fazoura حزورة أم فزورة by Rula Sadeh
really really حقاً حقاُ by K.Gray
Boulqash بولقش by Yara Bamieh
Unimportant Tips for The Young Reader نصائح غير مهمة للقارئ الصغير by Anas Abu Rahmeh
Author photo by Salim Abu Jabal