“A first new friend” was written and illustrated by Helen Patuck, and translated into Arabic by Dr Usama Alshughry. The text was edited and revised by Dr Fiona Flinn and Dr Hassan Regan. September 2021.
Kitabna means “our book” in Arabic. These therapeutic stories were created for newcomer children arriving in the UK and Ireland to start a new life, especially in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Education Authority Interculural Education Service and Kitabna – Our Book CIC have been collaborating on multi-lingual children’s books welcoming newcomers since 2019, with funding from the UK government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.
Newcomer families in Northern Ireland were asked to share some of their experiences of resettlement to help us identify which themes to address in our stories. Those themes, amongst others, were grief, separation, and trying new things. Our special thanks go to those families for reading our stories ahead of publication, and to Belfast MaxImpact and the Derry Women’s Centre.
These stories are part of a series of three stories created for newcomer communities who may be experiencing grief, seperation and difficulties when trying new things. A therapeutic story uses metaphor to create a safe space in which distressing emotions can be explored and shared. The stories are available in English and Arabic. Read online here: https://www.kitabna.org/therapeutic-stories.html
Audio: Helen Patuck
Music: oymaldonado, via freesound (https://freesound.org/people/oymaldonado/sounds/545155/)
Video creation and artwork: Helen Patuck