Arabic Short Stories and Cartoons to Make Learning Fun

“Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.” – Madeline Cheek Hunter, 1916-1994

When teachers discuss education, they often bring up Madeline Hunter, who developed several current instructional teaching models. One of her most enduring lessons is the quotation above; not all children learn the same way. The same is true of adults.

Arabic is a notoriously tricky language for native-English speakers. If you have the opportunity to inject some fun into your studies, you should sieze it. To change up your traditional Arabic learning routine, here's a roundup of children's books and cartoons to check out.

1. Aunty Zayyoun and the Olive Tree/ العمّة زيّون و شجرة الزّيتون

Written by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrated by Sinan Hallak, this charming children’s book tells the story of Aunty Zayyoun, who is 100 years old, and a nearby olive tree that’s over 300 years old. Readers will learn what these two have in common in this poetic story.

2. How I Became a Storyteller/كیف صرت حكواتي

Meet Jad, who is a member of his school’s drawing club, but has a teacher who just doesn’t get his works of art. Only when Jad explains his drawings, does his teacher realize he really doesn’t belong in the drawing club, but in the storytelling club. It’s in this club that he learns to let his imagination run wild.

3. My Grandmother Nafissa/ نفیسة جدتي

Taghrid al-Najjar tells the story of a grandson trying to keep up with his grandmother, but she’s not like your typical grandmother. She’s fit, creative, and extremely busy, which means there’s no time to rest - for either of them. This book illustrates the love and understanding that exists between generations.

Photo Credit: T. Foz / Unsplash

4. SIRAJ | سراج

This series of cartoons, which run about 20 minutes each, are educational shorts about Arabic letters geared toward children. They're good practice for beginners who are still trying to grasp basic writing and reading.

5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar / اليرقة الجائعة جدا

This classic childrens' story by Eric Carle is available in English with a transliteration in Arabic. If you feel like testing your Arabic reading and comprehension skills against a beloved and familiar story, this volume is a great place to start.

6. Tunis 2050 / تونس

Want to learn what life might be like in futuristic Tunisia? Watch Tunis 2050. With several characters showcasing how life in Tunisia may be a bit different from other Arabic-speaking countries, you’ll definitely laugh at this interpretation of the future.

7. Detective Korombo / المفتش كرومبو

You’ve probably heard of the American detective series, “Columbo,” which starred Peter Falk as a homicide detective in Los Angeles. Detective Korombo cartoon was inspired by Columbo, and he is probably the most famous detective in the Arabic world. You can embark on brief adventures with him via YouTube.

Photo Credit: Joao Silas / Unsplash

8. Arabic Stories for Language Learners / قصص عربية لمتعلمي اللغة

This book of 66 stories showcases the vocab and grammar used in everyday conversation in Arabic-speaking countries. The stories come from a variety of sources, and are presented in parallel in Arabic and English. They were written with self-study in mind, and they also come with questions to test your comprehension and encourage discussion.

9. The Watermelon / البطيخ

This popular children's book is about a girl who loves watermelon. After she decides to hide the watermelon under her bed and keep it all to herself, it starts growing bigger in the middle of the night. Simple sentence structures and illustrations that provide context will help beginning learners who are just easing into Arabic.

10. Salahuddin / صلاح الدين

This animated project was inspired by the life of Saladin, who fought against the Crusaders during the 12th century. The award-winning 13-part series originally debuted on the Al-Jazeera children's channel.

If you'd like to explore Fluent City's Arabic courses, check them out here. From beginners who have never spoken Arabic before to those comfortable with the alphabet and making introductions, our courses run for several levels of learners.