Karen Leggett Abouraya
Karen Leggett Abouraya grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, surrounded by writing and books: her father was a journalist and her mother is a retired school librarian. Karen was a broadcast
journalist for many years on ABC Radio WMAL in Washington, D.C., where she began reviewing and discussing children’s books. She has also reviewed children’s books and interviewed
authors for the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, Children’s Literature, Washington Parent and others.
Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books
In 2012, Karen published her first children’s book, Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin USA).
Richly illustrated with cut paper collage by Susan L. Roth, Hands Around the Library is the story of protesters who held hands around the great library in Alexandria to protect it from
vandals during the 2011 revolution.
Listen to the book
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words
Karen’s newest children’s title is Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words, published by StarWalk Kids in 2014.
The inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who stands up and speaks out for every child’s right to education. Though she and two of her schoolmates were targeted by a Taliban gunman, a life-threatening injury only strengthened her resolve. Malala spoke at the U.N. on her 16th birthday in 2012, nine months after she was shot.
Currently, Karen also writes for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (National Wildlife Refuge System), Voice of America, International Educator magazine (NAFSA), and others. Karen
graduated from Brown University (international relations) and worked briefly for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. She has traveled extensively
in Asia, Europe and Egypt, meeting her Egyptian husband Tharwat Abouraya in Washington. Karen now has dual citizenship and voted in her first Egyptian election in 2012. Karen and
Tharwat have two children and have been lucky enough to visit Egypt many times – especially Alexandria, her husband’s hometown. Karen and Tharwat are the new co-chairs of the Friends
of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, within the Baltimore-Luxor-Alexandria Sister Cities Committee. They plan to revitalize the Friends connections with the BA and expand membership to
include the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Hands Around the Library
Read by Karen Leggett Abouraya and Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Alexandria Library