Samia’s dad has an important job to do. Every Ramadan he wakes the people of the village up before dawn to have a meal before fasting for the day. This year however, Samia’s dad is ill so Samia offers to take his place. Samia needs to be brave to do this job at night. She must bang the drum loudly and call out for people to wake up. Luckily and to her surprise she is soon joined by Hamza, Fatima and other children of the village who each bring their own musical instrument and even some pots and pans! The children create a lovely band and the villagers are delighted to greet them.
A touching story of courage, solidarity and tradition. “Why not?” will transport the reader to the enchanting village of Lifta in Palestine during the 30s of the twentieth century.
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Parent and Teacher guide
"Why Not" is a story that questions the reader's expectations and challenges the reader to think … why not? After the initial shock of hearing a girl Mosaher drumming and chanting, the villagers encourage their children to join Samia in her rounds. Each child brings with him/her a different musical instrument to help wake the village people up. The village people appreciate this and offer food to the singing children.
The story reflects the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, which brings people together. It is also a story about the ability of girls to do any job they put their minds to, especially if they are well prepared and given the support they need. The dialogue between Samia and her sick Dad is symbolic of that.
The father is worried about his daughter and raises issues of concern which Samia reassuringly has an answer to; to protect herself from wild animals, she will take their dog “Barq” with her. To light up the darkness of the night, she will take a lantern with her. To find her way, she will navigate by the night stars. To know what she has to do, she reminds her father that she is well trained in what she is going to do, as she has accompanied and assisted him countless times.
The story also shows the ingenuity of children and suggests that sometimes traditions can be altered without damaging a community’s values or the spirit of an occasion. In the story, the children who join Samia do not all have drums, the instrument traditionally used by the Mosaher to wake people up. Each child in turn asks if it is possible to bring another musical instrument some even bring a pot and spoon. Samia laughingly says, “why not?” and allows a new practice. Towards the end of the story, the children end up forming an impromptu musical group and roam the streets singing and chanting.
“Why Not?” is a touching story of courage, solidarity and celebrating traditions. It will transport the reader to the enchanting village of Lifta in Palestine during the 1930s.
*(In the olden days, before clocks and alarms were commonplace, the Mosaher was the man whose job was to wake people up for the early morning meal in Ramadan called “ Suhoor”. Traditionally he did that by using a drum and chanting to coax people to wake up and eat before the fast begins.)
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 of today. 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
Hassan completed his studies in applied arts, emphasis on interior design from the University of Balqa’ in Jordan. He also studied fine arts with emphasis on oil painting and took a course in sculpture at the Jordanian National Institute of Arts. He graduated in 2000, and held his first exhibition “Urban Mood” in 2006. He started illustrating for local magazines in 2003., Later on he moved to animation specifically animation for children. He contributed to the production of an animated series “Pink Panther and Pals” produced by “Rubicon & MGM”. He also illustrated some episodes for a famous children series “Driver Dan’s Story Train” produced by “A Productions Ltd. & BBC”. Hassan illustrated a number of children books published by local and regional publishing houses.