A foundation that distributes free Jewish books to Jewish children in North America and Israel is launching an initiative to deliver Arabic books to Israeli-Arab preschoolers. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s PJ Library and Sifriyat Pajama, PJ’s sister program in Israel, have collectively given away more than 10 million books in nine years.
The new initiative for Israeli Arabs is called Maktabat al-Fanoos, Arabic for “Lantern Library,” and will distribute Arabic children’s books to 45,000 preschoolers living in Israeli-Arab communities. Some 215,000 Jewish preschoolers in Israel receive Sifriyat Pajama books.
The Lantern Library was created by the Israeli Ministry of Education in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Price Family Charities Fund with the goal of providing children with four books to take home and treasure over the course of the year. Next year the goal is eight books.
Culturally appropriate and with a strong story line conducive to discussions on values and emotions, the books encourage parents and children to lay the groundwork for reading. As with books in the Hebrew-speaking sector, the Arabic books are chosen by a selection committee composed of experts in child development, children’s literature and preschool education.
Read more at JTA.