I went out to the Farmer’s Market today (Souq el-Tayeb) downtown, and guess who I met? A real author and illustrator! I met Joumana Medlej. She has illustrated many books, but you may know her as the author and illustrator of the only Lebanese graphic novel super hero we have: Malaak.
Meeting the inventor of the first Lebanese superhero is supercool! Actually, Malaak is a heroine (female version of a hero) .
You may have met her Mom last year when you were in grade 4, and the librarians organized a ‘How Do You Write a Book?” meeting during I Love to Read Week. Her name is Youmna Jazzar Medlej, and she has written a series of childrens books (see examples )
She came to ACS and explained the very long process of writing and publishing a book.
If you don’t remember that event, than surely you remember that in the beginning of the year, when we were studying landforms, Makram brought in this book to share during Morning meeting about caves. It explained all about limestone and carbonic acid, and how Jeita cave was formed. Well, that one was one of the series.
Joumana , her daughter, is a graphic designer and writer who graduated from AUB, and she has illustrated all her mom’s books, but what’s more, she has also written her own books. Malaak , the superhero (or heroine, actually, which is the female version of hero), is one of them.
I was very excited to meet her for several reasons;
First of all, to meet a real author and illustrator. Here are examples of some of her illustrations.
Secondly, she is Lebanese and thinks with a Lebanese schema, yet she writes in English, so you can read her work. Now think about that when you are about to write your second realistic fiction piece; her settings are totally Lebanese! That is something else than to wrestle your way through the Arabic reading books in the classroom. I think it is exciting to see that you can write excellent English fiction while using your own background.
And finally, she is using a medium that is one of my favorites; the graphic novel. We don’t have a lot of graphic novels in the classroom library, and almost none at all in elementary library.
So I bought the whole series of Malaak for the classroom, and she wrote a dedication to you all. Here you can read more about her amazing creator.
So if you don’t know what to do this spring break; drag your parents over to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, and meet the author/illustrator yourself, buy her books, and have them dedicated to you!