Egyptian children’s author Notaila Rashed has been honored with a special Google Doodle on the search engine’s homepage today. Google Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and commemorate the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. Google teams have created over 4,000 Doodles for the homepages around the world.
Known affectionately as “Mama Loubna,” Rashed devoted her life to the creation and promotion of children’s literature. She authored numerous beloved literary works for children and young adults alike. Through her books and short stories, she aspired to highlight ancient Egyptian literary traditions, while providing children all around the world with an authentic portrayal of life in contemporary Egypt. Rashed was born on this day in 1934 in Cairo. She went on to study at Cairo University, where she wrote her first children’s stories. By 1953, her work had jumped off the pages and onto the airwaves through radio broadcasts. Just a few years later, In the late 1950s, she helped to create the groundbreaking educational magazine for children, Samir, later going on to oversee the publication as editor-in-chief. Throughout her career, Rashed wrote and translated countless children’s stories, and collaborated with a diverse list of Arabic youth magazines, television shows, and radio programs. Among her most famous works is the 1979 two-part book “The Diary of Yasser Family,” which inspired the first children’s film created by the Egyptian National Council of Culture. Besides her work as an author, Rashed has also translated children’s classics into Arabic, including The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Happy Prince and Black Beauty. She was a member of the High Committee of the Cairo International Festival for Children’s Film and of the Child and Young People Committee of the Alexandria Library. Rashed also received a variety of awards in honor of her contributions to Egyptian literature and society, including the State Award for Children’s Literature in 1978, the State Award for Children’s Journalism in 1995, and the Medal of the Council of the Ministry of Culture in 2002.
The Doodle, illustrated by Jordanian-American guest artist Sara Alfageeh, marks what would have been Rashed’s 86th birthday. This special illustration is being shown only to those across the Middle East and North Africa. While speaking on the process of creating the Google Doodle, Alfageeh said, “I’m an Arab-American Illustrator and comic artist, who particularly focuses on children’s literature and young adult work. Getting to research Notaila and learn how hard she worked to keep art and reading accessible to every kind of child deeply resonated with me. “She made sure her magazines and comics could reach the hands of any kid by keeping costs low. In her stories, she never talked down to children and just provided moral lessons, she encouraged readers to come to their own conclusions. She was an incredible woman, and it was an honor to illustrate her.”