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This boy, let’s call him A, came in a few weeks ago, totally new to the country~ he had just emigrated from Yemen. I talked to him for a bit, found out that he had only arrived the day before, (!), and was utterly discombulated, but seemed to be doing okay, all things considered. I spoke to him the (very) few phrases I know in Arabic, and he seemed more surprised than anything that this American accented Indian looking person would know any Arabic. I hoped that I didn’t scare him!

Well, that fear was assuaged today when he came to my desk looking for a book which, unfortunately was currently checked out. I used Google Translate to assure him that we could get the book for him pretty quickly. Felt good.englisharabic

Exchange at the Children’s desk today:

Kid: Excuse me, can you find me the book The Children The Series?

Me: the what?

Kid: The Children The Series

Me: (scratching head, and starting to type into search box to play for time) Um, hmm… okay so the title starts with the words The Children?


Kid: Yes.

Me: … and then what’s the next word?

Kid: The Series.

Me: Are you looking for a series of books called The Children?

Kid: No, I just want one book called The Children The Series.

Me: (typing the whole improbable sounding title into Google) Well, maybe there is a series that is called The Children The… (I stop, seeing what I have typed, and suddenly it all snaps together in my head.)

Me: (happier, elated, that I know [i hope] what he really wants) Oh you want the children’s Thesaurus!

Kid: (relieved yet still serious face) Yeah, that’s what I want. The Children The Series.

end scene.

October 2015