CAC held its annual book fair on campus last week from December 4-7. This event is a fundraiser for CAC’s Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and focuses on “building excitement around reading,” explained elementary librarian Josianne Fitzgerald.
In pursuit of this goal, main organizers Rana Allouba and Sarah Salmawy worked to extend the hours of the fair and expand the programming. This year’s book fair featured readings and book signings with several authors and guests and a performance by the Middle and High School String Ensemble.
One author who read on Tuesday afternoon was Dina Elabd ’08, who read from her children’s book The Lion that Dressed as a Sheep for first and second grade classes at CAC Elementary and at the book fair in the afternoon.
Describing her appreciation for children’s literature, Elabd said that “There’s such a huge range of types of books you can write for children, from picture books all the way to young adult, and they’re all very different... I’m very excited about the use of illustration and the many different ways to tell a story.” She also explained, “I feel that there aren’t as many books in English targeted at children or young adults that have Egyptian culture in them, so I’m trying to do that more in my books as they come out.”
Elabd also feels that reading has an important impact on how children perceive the world. “Reading helps with empathy building …. and the ability to document things that you see… and be able to think critically about that and from someone else’s perspective… These are very important skills.”
While Elabd discovered her talent for writing for children at university, she began cultivating her writing skills much earlier. During her time at CAC, she worked on Papyrus, the literary collection published by CAC high school students to showcase works of creative writing. “I was part of the group of people who choose the writing that goes into Papyrus... I also got to learn how a book was printed, something I never knew before.” Her participation on the Speech and Debate Team also taught her how to capture an audience when reading.
Elabd also recognizes the impact that alumni can have on students by returning to campus. “We can show [students] the possibility of what can happen,” she explained. During her visit, Elabd spoke to students about the process of writing and publishing a book. According to Elabd, “you have to see where you can give back and how you can give back.” Whether by giving a lecture about your own skills and experiences, helping students with a class project, or coaching a school athletic team, every CAC alumni has unique knowledge and experiences to share with our community.