Meet the Youngest Published Poet in Tunisia, 8 Year-Old Rayhan Atrash

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A picture of cute, little Rayhan

Rayhan Atrash is an eight year-old Tunisian girl who surprisingly managed to publish her first poetry book with the support of her mother.

“Rayhan”- also the title of the book- contains 33 pages of short poems written in standard Arabic, tackling the themes of patriotism, anti-terrorism, love of one’s mother, and the importance of education- among many other themes.

I have discovered Rayhan’s book thanks to my favorite Tunisian booktuber, Sonya the Serial Reader, when she published a Book Haul video about this year’s international book fair hosted in Tunisia.

In one of her poems, Rayhan states that she aspires to become an artist when she goes up. Rayhan’s mind seems to be mature enough for her to differentiate between what she wants and what her parents want for her. She realizes that becoming a doctor will make her mother happy, and becoming a judge will make her father happy. But, becoming an artist is what will make HER happy, and she shows determination in making that dream come true.

The fact that this poem made it to the book means that Rayhan’s mother truly respects her daughter’s dreams and wishes about her future even though she is still a kid. This shows a high level of maturity from the mother’s side as well. Indeed, like mother, like daughter.

Some of the poems in the book have the potentials to be school songs for kids, especially a poem arraying words that are used in standard Arabic to represent the sounds that animals make for communication.

I enthusiastically think that this book should be displayed in Tunisian schools and should be put on every bookshelf of every public library, so that Rayhan becomes an inspiration to other kids.

I am not saying that her short poems are the masterpiece of the century; but, for me at least, her book is about purity, innocence, hope, and mother love. Aren’t these some of the things that make a good poetry?

Looking forward to reading her next books!

P.S.: I will be sharing a book impression about “Just Another Tear Drop”, a book written in English by 18 year-old Jasser Hammami. Stay tuned! 

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