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Jane van Koeverden speaks with Winnie Yeung and Abu Bakr al Rabeeah:
“By telling stories to Ms. Yeung, I learned a lot of stuff that happened to me that I didn’t realize. For example, not being able to go out for soccer or with friends — that taught me how to be a patient person. Not having things I wanted because of the circumstances, that taught me to enjoy the small things I had.” —Abu Bakr al Rabeeah
“The biggest challenge was to tell a story in Abu Bakr’s voice. I thought it would be more immediate and more relatable if it was from the personal point of view. But then I realized, ‘Oh no, I have to write as a 14-year-old Arabic boy.’ That was tough. I knew that by the way Abu Bakr was speaking to me in English that wasn’t his true voice because he was struggling with the language. Though I could still get his spirit and his warmth and his energy that way, I still had some weird requests for him. For example, I would ask him to talk to someone on the phone in Arabic, just to hear what he sounded like in his own mother tongue. From that I could capture his rhythm and put it on the page.” —Winnie Yeung
You can read the full interview here.