Egypt published its first children’s story that tackles the country’s underwater cultural heritage.
“The Adventures of the Sailor and the Starfish” will be distributed to children in schools and public libraries as part of an awareness campaign on the underwater cultural heritage.
It was published in cooperation with many international institutions, such as the Greek Vardinoyannis Foundation, the UNESCO Chair on Underwater Cultural Heritage, the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies, the Alexandria Center for Maritime Archeology and the Honor Frost Foundation in Britain.
Author of the story and academic researcher in cultural heritage and museum studies, Dr. Jehan Nabil Zaki told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Egypt’s cultural heritage has been my lifelong research, and throughout my academic journey, I became convinced that our children can experience it in a fun and artistic way.”
Written in the Egyptian dialect, the story is aimed at children aged 9 to 12 and boasts 50 illustrations.
Zaki is also the director of the educational center at the Grand Egyptian Museum and is working as a regional expert for intangible cultural heritage at UNESCO.
She added that she helped design many animated stories for adults and children at various museums and heritage sites “to spread awareness about Egypt’s cultural heritage in an artistic and simplified way.”
The story, considered the first of its kind in the Arab world, tries to raise awareness among school children about Egypt’s underwater cultural heritage and emphasizes its value and the importance of preserving its marine environment.
Illustrator Osama Ali told Asharq Al-Awsat that he held several meetings with the author and graphic artist Hadeer Dahab “in order to fully understand and grasp the details of the story before starting with the sketching process”.
Ali said he modified several sketches and drawings after consulting with experts in archeology and marine life, who oversaw the story.