Abdeltawwab Youssef




       Born on October 1st 1928 in 'Alfashn' in the governorate of Beniswef in Upper Egypt, Abdeltawab Youssef has for over forty years dedicated his life to children's literature. Right from the start, he was able to differentiate between literature for children and writing for children. Not many have succeeded in creating authentic literature for children and he- by far- surpasses them all in both quantity and quality. Out of his over three hundred books- including a colorful variety of novels, stories, poetry and plays- his work 'The life  of Mohamed' sold a record  five million copies. In this fascinating tale, the story of the prophet's life is narrated by animals and inanimate objects. 

       Youssef  has also written thousands of  dramas and diverse programs for both radio and television all over the Arab world.  

       Of the many awards he received, were the King Faisal International Award for Literature in 1991 and the Award of the Arab Organization  for Education, Culture and Sciences in 1990. In the year 2000, his book on the life of Muhammad in 20 stories, won the Bologna Fair award. His Toshka Series, is to featured by IBBY (International Board for Young People) on the IBBY Honor List 2000.

       "A child's imagination is a vast universe that knows no limits, where images, characters, incidents and visions dwell." says Youssef. "If we do not help him or her to create this universe, the child on its own constructs it and brings it to life. It is where he or she keeps the stories and fables they have heard, where they reorganize the world according to their own vision, and  in the exact way they themselves wish to portray it."  

  A few  examples of his numerous works are : 

      In Arabic 

  • Hassan and Ihsan at Ibn Lokman's  his first novel, published in 1969. 
  • The Valiant skipper a novel  published 1991. 
  • Uncle Ni'ina'  probably the first play  ever to be written in Arabic for children, was presented in the sixties in the Cairo Opera House. 
  • Goha feeds his Clothes is one of seven humorous plays based on the character   "Goha". 
  • Colors is a fascinating collection of nine books. The first reveals what Physics and Optics are to Colors. Each of the other books then discusses each color separately. In the "Color Red" for example the child discovers it in fruits, vegetables, the blood cells, Red Riding Hood, the Red Sea and so on. 
  • Let's read series  Published 1999, a collection of 15 books awarded Suzan Mubarak's prize
  • Stories of Nations 1999- Safir- a series of 30 books 
  • The Life Of Muhammad in 20 stories  winner of  International Bologna Fair award as well as  writing, publishing and design awards. Animals and inanimate objects familiar to the child are the narrators.
  • Toshka Series on the IBBY Honor List 2000 

    In English 

  • Arab Pioneers and Western Scientists in a Strange Encounter published in English in 1984. In this Egyptian State prize winning book, Youssef  brilliantly sets imaginary encounters  between Western and Arab scientists, separated by centuries, but linked by the same scientific disciplines. 
  • The Dancing Skeleton  a collection of short stories set in the heart of  Egyptian villages.

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