Arabic Teachers from Germany Visit Frankfurt Bookfair 2021

Frankfurt Bookfair, the biggest fair for the publishing industry worldwide, welcomed more than 36,000 visitors this October back in person. Planned as a hybrid event due to ongoing COVID restrictions, many also watched livestream events on topics such as: “Publishing Arabic books – opportunities and challenges” or “It’s only a children’s book – The complexity of the supposedly simple” with a focus on Arabic children’s books.

Compared to previous years, only 25% of exhibitors from around the world came to Frankfurt. It was a much quieter and yet lively event with pre-booked tickets only, wide alleys and vendors with less elaborate booth designs.

Arabic teachers from Germany used the opportunity to visit publishing houses from the Arab world including HBKU Press in Qatar, Kalimat from Sharjah, a joint booth from publishers from the UAE and many more.

We had a long conversation with a representative from Klett Verlag, most known in Germany to Arabic teachers for “Salam” focusing on adult learners, and “Adaf” for younger students. What are the challenges creating teaching resources for Arabic students and how can material created for adult audiences be successfully adapted to suit younger learners? What are the differences teaching Arabic as a heritage language or as a foreign language? We truly enjoyed our visit to the Klett booth!

Publishers from the Arab world have gained an important role and are now publishing many original Arabic titles for young readers rather than relying on translations of books from English. We were impressed by the beauty of some stories and the professional production of the books.

“The Frankfurt Book Fair held in October 2021 made me aware of active publishers in Arab countries and many useful and valuable educational products, respectively. Through my visit, I had the opportunity to discover interesting books, stories, and teaching materials as well as to network with authors and publishers.” – Arabic teacher, Bonn

Participants are now completing a material list with their personal recommendations for materials to be used during Arabic classes, which will be shared among Arabic teachers in Germany.