Laila Taji has always enjoyed working with children and communities. While at Smith College, she minored in education. She spent a year with Americorps Vista implementing a reading program in an elementary school. She was a pediatric nurse for 8 years and most recently, she earned a Community-Oriented Public Health masters degree from the University of Washington. From all these experiences, she learned about the importance of education, culture and community for one’s health and wellness. She started ArabishWay because, as an American mom of Arab descent with two young children, she craved ways to connect her very American children to the family’s Arab culture. Why Arab-ish way? Because even though she feels very Arab when she’s the only Arab in the room, in a room full of Arabs she is suddenly very conscious of how much of her culture and language was taken from her. Laila is very passionate about creating early reading experiences for children in Arabic and she would like to see more creative ways of connecting the spoken Arabic (what children are hearing) with the written Arabic language (what children see and hear in books) particularly for toddlers and preschoolers. She has attempted to this with her two books, These Chicks – هال صيصان, and My Grandfather Has a Donkey – جدي عندو حمار.