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Dear Parents, We all know the importance of reading to children, for as the proverb says: "Learning at a younger age is like engraving in stone." A child's memory is like a sponge; it absorbs everything that we teach the child, or like a smart camera, it captures all the images that it sees. We also know that when we train the memory to memorize at a younger age, it retains these images and words, and it plants them in the child's mind and imagination in a way that he will not forget them even after he grows to maturity especially if the reading and listening passages are in the form of songs that rhyme which also facilitate the process of memorization, repetition, and retention. All this is in addition to the priceless time of pure enjoyment which you as parents can spend with your children without being occupied with secondary mundane problems related to business and life. This is the reason why I wrote these songs. My hope is that you yourselves will enjoy them and read them aloud to your children many times and help them to memorize them and understand them and also explain to them the embedded cultural background pertaining to life in general and village life in particular. Furthermore, in order to facilitate the process of reading and comprehension, I also transliterated every song so that those who understand Arabic, but cannot read it, can still use and enjoy this book. Best wishes for enjoyable times with your precious children. George Nicolas El-Hage, Ph.D.
About the Author
George Nicolas El-Hage, Ph.D. is a Lebanese-American poet, professor, linguist, administrator and writer. He was born in Mansourieh El-Metn, Lebanon in 1952. His father was Nicolas Iskandar El-Hage and his mother was Martha Abounader El-Hage. Dr. El-Hage completed his elementary and secondary school education in Lebanon. He acquired his B.A. in Arabic Literature from the Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon. While in Beirut, El-Hage studied with and was influenced by poets like Buland al-Haidari and Khalil Hawi. He then emigrated to the United States where he completed both his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Arabic and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York in Binghamton. His dissertation (later published into a book by NDU Press, Lebanon) was on William Blake and Kahlil Gibran: Poets of Prophetic Vision. He has taught at Yale University, Binghamton University, The Lebanese University, Columbia University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies (a graduate school of Middlebury College) and the Defense Language Institute. His academic career has been equally spent between teaching, authoring, lecturing and administration. Dr. El-Hage is a prolific writer with a perfect command of both English and Arabic languages. His training and expertise in the field of Arabic and Comparative Literature has enabled him to delve into a wide range of topics and areas covering Literature, mythology, mysticism, language acquisition, criticism, theology and art. He is a published poet in Arabic, both in Modern Standard and in spoken Levantine Dialect as well as in Lebanese Zajal. He also writes poetry in English and is an accomplished translator. Dr. El-Hage has published seven volumes of poetry, numerous research articles, books on language pedagogy and poetry in Lebanese Dialect and Zajal. His poetry betrays a marked fluctuation between a deep romantic sensitivity and a tragic existential awareness which colors his reading of current universal and regional events. The tragedy of his embattled country constitutes a dominant theme in his writings. El-Hage is a supporter of the free verse movement in Modern Arabic Poetry. Nevertheless, he still appreciates the Qasida 'Amudiyya, the classical form of traditional Arabic Poetry. He always chooses short meters, and his poetry is characterized by its musical effects. Many of Dr. El-Hage's books are available on www.amazon.com.