‘I knew I was go­ing to be the cham­pion’

Gulf News - - Arab Reading Challenge - BY MARY ACHKHANIAN Staff Re­porter

Nine-year-old Mariam Lehsen Amjoun from Morocco, who won the Arab Read­ing Chal­lenge, said she ex­pected to win be­cause she pre­pared well.

“Since 2017, I have been read­ing books and sum­maris­ing it and try­ing to un­der­stand it. I faced many chal­lenges be­cause any com­pe­ti­tion has a chal­lenge, but I man­aged to over­come all the chal­lenges.

“I love read­ing books that deal with so­cial is­sues, in­clud­ing his­tor­i­cal and sci­en­tific books and books on ethics. I want to be­come an ar­chi­tect like the fa­mous mod­ern ar­chi­tect Zaha Ha­did from Iraq. I ear­lier said books are a hospi­tal to the minds of peo­ple and this is be­cause I be­lieve it heals peo­ple from ig­no­rance,” she said.

Lah­sen Amjoun, her fa­ther who is a phi­los­o­phy teacher, said: “The prize is a gift from God to my daugh­ter. Mariam is a smart and ded­i­cated stu­dent. She works hard on her stud­ies. She is very pas­sion­ate about books. She has read more than 200 books. She speaks flu­ently in clas­si­cal Ara­bic. She is very young com­pared to the rest of fi­nal­ists, but that didn’t make me doubt her ca­pa­bil­i­ties. I’m very proud of her.

“There were chal­lenges when we were pre­par­ing Mariam for the chal­lenge. It was mainly to find the right books for her age first and find books that appeal to her in­ter­ests.”

Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

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