What Happened to My Brother Ramez?
All is well in Aloush’s Life until Deema shows up and turns his life upside down. Aloush tries hard to get rid of this meddlesome person who took his brother away from him. Will Aloush feelings towards Deema change? A hilarious story that shows how Aloush tries to deal with his mixed feelings towards his big brother’s fiancé
Parent and Teacher guide
Aloush is the youngest in the family. He is not sure whether this is a good or bad thing. His big brother Ramez is his idol. Everyday, Ramez drives Aloush to school on his way to work. He takes him to basketball practice with him and after the game teaches him how to get the ball in the basket. He allows him to hang around when his friends come over to watch a football game and always has the time to drop him off at the mall to watch a movie with his friend Hamoudeh.
Something happens that changes Ramez and makes him less attentive to Aloush. What can it be? It turns out Ramez has fallen in love and has decided to get engaged to Dima. How will Aloush deal with Dima who has “taken away” his brother Ramez from him?
Suggested points for discussion:
1- Children sometimes feel that the world revolves around them and that the people they love belong to them. They feel threatened by any new relationship their loved ones have. Are these fears justified?
2- Aloush is upset about the new situation with Dima and does not know how to deal with it. He feels jealous, abandoned and angry. Discuss his feelings? Link to student experience.
3- His solution is to try to get rid of this “threat” to his relationship with his brother Ramez by a few pranks. Discuss how students would have handled the situation.
4- Relationship between siblings may change according to the age difference between them or if they are younger older or about the same age. Discuss different kinds of relationships between siblings. Link to student experience.
5- Children learn about the social practices in their society. In this story Aloush finds out about the custom of marriage in his country. He feels grown up when he takes part in the “Jaha” which is an old custom that is kept as part of the marriage tradition. Discuss the tradition and link to student family experience.
6- Another tradition is the feast people put up when they invite the family over. Aloush helps his mother with the shopping. How do people prepare for such events? What kind of food do they offer?
7- Another culture tradition is the ululate… which is the sound of joy women make when they want to express extreme happiness. How did Aloush react to his mother’s ululate? Discuss how this tradition differs from one culture to another.
8- Dima is sensitive to Aloush’s feelings of abandonment and jealousy.. How did Dima win Aloush over? Discuss
About the Author
Taghreed Najjar is a pioneer of modern children's literature in Jordan. A graduate of the American University of Beirut, Taghreed started her career as a teacher before becoming a full time writer of picture books and young adult novels. Her YA novels have been celebrated widely by her readers and various schools in the region have adopted them as part of their curriculum. A number of her books have won awards while others have been translated into foreign languages like English, Swedish, Turkish, French and Chinese.
One of her most critically acclaimed works is a series of ten picture books revolving around six-year old Jude and her family and friends.'The Halazone Series', deals with everyday childhood issues which are treated with humor and deftness by the author. One of Taghreed’s pet projects was collecting old Arabic children rhymes and publishing them in book and digital form to make them accessible to the modern child and family. She published two collections of rhymes, the latest entitled 'Musical Tickles' was selected by the National Centre for Children's Literature (a service of the French National Library) as one of the best publications in the Arab World in 2012/2013.
Taghreed is a member of the Jordanian Writer’s Association and takes part in international and regional conferences and workshops that deal with children literature.
About the Illustrator
Born and raised in a family that appreciated art, Maya was lucky to have had the support of her family to pursue art from an early age. She studied painting and sculpting at the Lebanese University -Faculty of Arts- while working at the same time for ad agencies and magazines executing murals and storyboards. Maya illustrated her first book in 2004 and has been a children’s book illustrator ever since then. She has illustrated over 35 books and worked with many publishing houses in Lebanon and the Arab region.