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In Arabic, kitabna means "our book". Since 2014, Kitabna has been writing, illustrating and publishing multi-lingual (Arabic-English / Kurdish-Arabic-English) children's books for children displaced by the sectarian violence in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan.
Author Helen Patuck spent one year developing the project in Lebanon before moving on to the camps in France (Calais), Iraq and Jordan. Over 13,900 of Kitabna's books have been distributed to children in displacement now, including distribution with United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children International. In 2016 they were requested and deposited at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the University of Cambridge Library, Trinity College, Dublin, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales.
The books are themed around life in refugee camps, and aim to create pride and dignity in the stigmatized displacement experience. They work on many levels:
أهلاً وسهلاً Welcome!
Kitabna children's books for refugees: finding readers in lost generations