I first moved to Cairo with my parents in 1993, to complete my senior year of high school at Cairo American College. During this year, my parents took me – not always a willing adventurer – on many escapades through Egypt. We visited the historic buildings of Cairo, the water wheels in Fayoum, the palms and temples in Siwa, and the mountains and beaches of the Sinai. After graduating in front of the pyramids, I spent the next five years studying in America, my love for Egypt growing with each summer and winter holiday I spent visiting my parents in Cairo. In 1999, I completed my undergraduate studies in elementary and special education and received my teacher certification in both fields.

That same year, I returned to Cairo to embark on my escapade as a teacher. I taught for eight years in Cairo at various international and private schools. My focus was mainly teaching English Language Arts and Reading, but I have also taught mathematics, science, social studies, art, and even P.E.!

After being awarded a scholarship from the FAWCO Foundation, I began my graduate studies through The University of Texas at Arlington. In the summer of 2005, I earned a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on literacy and English as a Second Language. During my studies, I also began working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the university. Today, I am still involved in assisting and training new and veteran teachers on best practices for language arts and reading instruction.

I was always an avid reader and book-lover, but it was through my graduate studies that I truly realized the importance of children's literature – and the importance and effectiveness of teaching language to children using books with content familiar to the readers. I had few of those books available to me as a teacher in Cairo. I always remember trying to teach a third grade class how to play baseball just so they could understand and enjoy a story from our textbook. As I learned in my university courses and read story after story with my students, I was inspired by these young readers who willingly listened to, learned from, and even delighted in stories about snow, Thanksgiving, armadillos, enchiladas, and backyards. Not once did we read about Ramadan or sporting clubs or bowls of steaming lentil soup. And yet my students always asked for another book. Slowly, ideas for books written specifically for my Egyptian students began bubbling in my brain...and eventually started to find their way to paper.

In 2007, my husband Nadim and I decided to focus our energies on completing my first book. We left the hustle and bustle of Cairo and settled in the small town of Dahab in South Sinai – a place that provides a unique freedom to explore and create. My favorite hours are spent with my young Bedouin neighbors as we all improve our language skills through what we do best – playing! When I'm not working on my books, I enjoy swimming, hiking, gardening, baking, reading, and of course continuing my own escapades through Egypt. I also dabble in photography and enjoy snapping shots of the plants, animals, and places I visit on my adventures. That led to my creation of the Escapade through Egypt photoblog, which continues with the alphabetical theme of my first book and shares more images and information about modern Egypt. You can also view my wildlife photographs on Project Noah. If you are interested in the nature of Egypt, be sure to check out - and join! - the Biodiversity in Egypt, Wildlife in the Sinai Peninsula, and Red Sea Marine Life missions. On Flickr.com are photos from some of my travels in Egypt and abroad.

Bernadette’s Own Escapades through Egypt

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