PhD student teaches compassion and acceptance with children’s book
July 23, 2018
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is like no education at all.”
Raghad Ebied quotes Aristotle because his words reflect her literary and academic goals. She wants to educate the hearts of young children. The second-year PhD student at the Faculty of Education, along with her husband Raghid Shreih, recently published My many friends, our one heart.
This is their third children’s book in the series, Hadi’s adventures. The series promotes character development, such as generosity and compassion along with diversity, inquiry and creativity.
The series reflects the life of a Muslim family and their interactions with society. The family includes Hadi, his brother Sameer and their parents. Having a Muslim family represented in children’s literature can promote a sense of belonging for Muslim and minority children as well as bring a sense of understanding and familiarity with members of the greater society, said Ebied.
“We’re hoping this will promote acceptance and peace between different members of society and to really encourage us to have an appreciation for diversity,” said Ebied. “I felt there was a need to create avenues for dialogue. Hopefully, this will minimize bullying in schools and encourage Muslim kids to integrate positively into society and be proud of who they are as well as contribute to the greater society without feeling they don’t belong.”
Each book highlights a different theme. This installment features a child who is a newcomer to Canada and a child in a wheelchair. The book illustrates the negative emotions children feel when their peers exclude them. However, the plot stresses that it’s important to love and accept others regardless of peoples’ differences.
“It’s an idea of being brave when you see someone having a hard time and reaching out to them and being there,” she said.
Ebied gets inspiration for her books through observing her two boys as well as her daily experiences as a parent. Her husband’s career as an innovation and technology professional also inspires the science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related topics of their books, which aims to improve children’s creativity and critical thinking skills.
The series is for children between four to eight years of age. There’s an English version as well as a bilingual Arabic and English edition that’s also available.