Great Neck, New York, USA, 08/17/2015 /SubmitPressRelease123/
In July of 2014, the world watched with great sadness as violence erupted once again between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Around this time, StarWalk Kids Media Publisher Liz Nealon noticed an item on Facebook, posted by the Palestinian-Egyptian writer Naila Farouky. It was a stark, powerful poem reacting to the violence, with the repeating refrain “I will not call for death. I will not.” Struck by the parallel construction of the author’s refrain, “I Will Not Call for Death,” and the biblical imperative, “Thou Shalt not Kill,” Nealon immediately texted Farouky, asking, “who wrote that poem?” Farouky’s response: “I did.”
That simple exchange led to an international development discussion, with StarWalk Kids Media quickly determining that it wanted to publish the poem as a picture book. The book, designed for children ages 12 and up, would be published not only in English, but also in Arabic and Hebrew. Nealon approached Israeli illustrator Ora Eitan, whose powerful, simple style and rich use of color would give visual power to the stark, emphatic poem. Eitan responded deeply to the poem and was eager to take on the challenge of illustrating a children’s book about war. Naila agreed. “I loved the idea that not only is Ora a great artist, she’s Israeli. We were really walking the walk and talking the talk.”
Farouky recalls that she was particularly saddened by the 2014 violence because in her work as an international producer for Sesame Street she had become close to people in both territories. Wide awake in the middle of the night, she wrote I WILL NOT to express the shock and despair she felt at what she was hearing from Israelis, Palestinians and others. “Friends of mine on both sides were grieving, saying things like ‘How can they be killing our children?’ And then in the next sentence saying: ‘May God one day show you the same torture and kill your children before your eyes.’ When good people are talking like this,” says Naila, “we will never get anywhere. The biggest challenge in maintaining your humanity is when your values are tested by events like these.”
Once the manuscript was finalized, the translation work began. Nearly simultaneous queries came from both the Arabic and Hebrew translators with the same fundamental question about the title itself: I WILL NOT. Each wondered how to handle that phrase when the natural grammatical construction of the translated phrase would be the equivalent of: “For Death, I will not call.” They each phoned in, questioning. “Surely, the emphasis should not be on ‘death’? And in the end, completely independently, both the Arabic and Hebrew translators settled on a virtually identical phrasing that made sense in the new language, but retained the positive emphasis intended in the original text.
I WILL NOT is being published in all three languages in paperback (Ingram) and as an enhanced eBook, with professionally recorded narration to provide children with a “Read to Me” option. StarWalk Kids Media will also provide a “Teaching Link” designed to support educators in facilitating a discussion of the issues and themes of this powerful story.
I WILL NOT By Naila Farouky, Illustrated by Ora Eitan
StarWalk Kids Media 40 pages
Paperback $12.99 ISBN: 978-1630839918
eBook $ 8.99 ISBN: 978-1630835408
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Ages: 12 and up
ABOUT AUTHOR NAILA FAROUKY: Naila Farouky is a Peabody Award-winning Executive Producer with extensive experience in developing and producing quality children’s programming. Of Palestinian-Egyptian origin, with dual Jordanian and American citizenship, Naila has worked as an Executive Producer and Project Manager on Sesame Street co-productions in 17 countries around the world, including Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and across Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the CEO of the Arab Foundations Forum based in Amman, Jordan.
ABOUT ILLUSTRATOR ORA EITAN: Ora Eitan was born Ora Sandhhus in Tel Aviv and graduated from the Bzalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where she later taught illustration for many years. Ora has illustrated more than 100 books for children and is the recipient of numerous distinguished awards and honors, including a nomination for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and two Hans Christian Andersen Certificates of Honor. Her work has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout Israel and abroad, and some of her books have been translated into Arabic. Today, Ora paints, illustrates, and spends time with her five grandchildren, Tomer, Amit, Erez, Alon and Rona.
STARWALK KIDS MEDIA: Founded by renowned children’s science author Seymour Simon and former Sesame Street Creative Director Liz Nealon, StarWalk Kids Media is a PreK-8th Grade digital learning company. Its National Science Foundation-funded StarWalk Writer™ software raises the bar in educational technology, facilitating collaborative reading, writing and research in a single, digital environment. The Writer software is integrated with the company’s exclusive, enhanced eBook collection of 500+ titles from more than 150 celebrated authors including Seymour Simon, Jim Arnosky, Kathryn Lasky, Pat Mora, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Diane Stanley, Bernard Waber, Nikki Grimes, Jane Yolen and more. For a surprisingly affordable, annual subscription price, schools and libraries can access professionally narrated, high-quality mentor texts that allow multiple-user access and work on any device. Learn more at www.StarWalkKids.com.
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