Abd Al-Tawwab Yousef Ahmad Yousef was born in Shanra village in Bani Suaif Governorate, Egypt in 1928 and obtained a BA in political sciences from the College of Commerce in Cairo University in 1949. He held several administrative responsibilities and headed the Department of Culture in the Public Relations Administration of the Arab Socialist Union until 1975, when he resigned to devote his time entirely for writing.
Yusuf is a giant of children literature. An admired and prolific writer, he authored close to 600 books and tales written especially for children, of which more than 20 million copies were printed. He also edits fascinating children magazines and presents radio and television programs that attract a large audience of children. His books typically combine the pleasures of a stimulating imagination with a subtle moral message. Some of his stories were translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Persian and Urdu. He also wrote around 30 academic books relating to children educational and cultural guidance.
Mr. Yusuf founded Al-Fardus, the first monthly Islamic magazine for children, and the Society for Child Literature in the 1960’s and organized the first conference on Child Literature in the Arab world in 1970. He has been a member of the Children’s Committee of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Culture since its inception, and was a member of the Board of the Egyptian Writers’ Union for 8 years. He was also a member of the Child and Family Committee of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. Despite his age, he still lectures and participates in symposia and book fairs. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Literature, he was awarded numerous prizes and medals including the Egyptian State Prizes for Children’s Literature (with First Class Medal), and Children’s Culture (with Second Class Medal), as well as prizes from the UNESCO, ALESCO, Union of Arab Radio Stations, the International Council for Children Books (Switzerland) and the International Exhibition of Children Books in Italy.
Abd-Attawab Yousef Ahmad wrote beautiful children’s stories in urban and rural settings. A subtle moral message pervades his work and meshes with the pleasure given by a fertile imagination. A rich vocabulary introduces the child to the treasures of his tongue without taxing his abilities.