Toronto-based Rainbow Caterpillar Multilingual Children’s Bookshop named Ahmad Marouf the winner of the first Rainbow Caterpillar Children’s Literature in a Mother Language Award. The bookshop presented Marouf with the $750 prize at the Canadian Ethnic Media Association’s annual awards gala in Toronto on Saturday night.
Marouf, a journalist and script writer with Radio Canada International’s Arabic division, beat out 36 other entries in eight languages to claim the prize for his Arabic-language short story “Sea of Pearls.”
The panel of 13 multilingual judges also singled out the following works for honourable mention:
- Farzaneh Moaven, “Who Do You Love the Most?” (Farsi)
- Letizia Tesi, “Gino Salamino” (Italian)
- Sonia Sa, “The Happy King” (Portuguese)
- Liet Lee Lopes, “The First Snowman” (Spanish)
- Gerald Luzangi, Dorothy Luzangi, and Verdiana Mhate Luzangi, “Hunter with the Snake” (Swahili)
The award recognizes excellence in writing for children in a language other than French or English by a Canadian citizen or resident. In a press release launching the contest, bookshop owners Happie Testa and Hanoosh Abbasi said the award supports vibrant literary production for children in foreign languages, but with a uniquely Canadian perspective.