Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Blog

By Dena Elian
Fall Intern, 2013

Susan Daniel Fayad is an Arab American author who has spent most of her professional life working in education. She taught primary grades at an international charter school before moving forward in her career as a State Department-sponsored educational adviser with AMIDEAST Lebanon. In her new children’s book My Grandfather’s Masbaha, Fayad uses her experience as an educator to teach an important life lesson to her young readers. “The main message is be thankful for every single thing you have because it is truly precious,” Fayad said, when asked what she hoped to convey through her book.

“Masbaha” is the Arabic word for a string of prayer beads. In the story, four-year-old Adam is visiting his grandfather, Jidoo Yousef, in his hometown of Bakeef, Lebanon. One day, Adam becomes frustrated after his friends leave and he finds that he has little to entertain himself with. After Adam complains, his grandfather uses his masbaha to help Adam count his blessings beyond material possessions.

In addition to passing an important message to children, Fayad said she wrote the book as a way of honoring her late father, as his trademark was his masbaha.  

Fayad explained that setting the scene in Lebanon was an additional layer to the story’s moral. “I want to introduce [children] to a different aspect of the Arab world,” she said. “Although the book is set in Lebanon and involves using a masbaha, it is meant for children of all backgrounds since it evokes a universal theme of being grateful for what you have.”

Fayad currently lives in Virginia with her family. Her book is available for purchase online.

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