‘I knew I was going to be the champion’
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.”