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New Book by Astrid Kamalyan (MBA ’11) Features Cherished Armenian Traditions

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American University of Armenia (AUA) alumna Astrid Kamalyan’s (MBA’11) debut picture book, BÁBO: A Tale Of Armenian Rug-Washing Day, has been recently published in the U.S. by Charlesbridge Publishing. Seasoned with the Artsakh dialect and traditional Armenian carpet-weaving, BÁBO has garnered widespread acclaim from professional review organizations and readers alike. It has even been awarded the JLG Gold Standard Selection, a distinction granted to only 10% of traditionally published children’s books. Furthermore, BÁBO has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book, and Publishers Weekly, and it currently stands as the #1 New Release in Children’s Middle East Books on Amazon. Each honor and review for BÁBO is celebrated by a virtual high five between Astrid and the book’s illustrator, Anait Semirdzhyan. The support for Armenian voices in Western literature serves as a profound source of inspiration for Astrid.

BÁBO is about the Armenian tradition of rug-washing, a vivid childhood memory for many in Armenia and Artsakh. Drawing from her own happy memories of washing rugs with her siblings and grandmother, Astrid infuses her tale with the warmth and joy that emanate from her childhood in Armenia. Through BÁBO, Astrid seeks to share this unique and heartwarming Armenian experience, which reflects a sense of community and love.

Hailing from Artsakh, Astrid decided to incorporate her native dialect as an authentic depiction of her personal background. This choice came to her naturally, as it mirrors the language spoken by her Babo (grandmother). 

Astrid graduated from AUA’s Master of Business Administration program in 2011 and worked in the tech industry for over a decade, mostly in market research. Later, she used her research experience and love for writing in her work as content director for a Chicago startup. Her AUA education allowed Astrid to pursue two professional career tracks, one of which is writing. She believes that a good education accomplishes two things: it teaches you work ethic, and it shapes your thinking in a holistic and systematic way. These two qualities are universally purposeful and necessary in all careers. They also make you agile, an essential skill in today’s changing world. Astrid considers her alma mater an excellent resource when hiring and building teams, knowing that AUA graduates will possess the qualifications and skills she seeks. 

BÁBO is not the first book Astrid wrote, but the first she published. “For every sentence that gets published, you will have many more that won’t. That’s how it works with writing,” she reflects. She has several forthcoming projects featuring Armenian culture and traditions.

Astrid warmly invites everyone to join her upcoming book tours in Los Angeles and Evanston, Illinois, where readers can indulge in the beauty of Armenian culture.

Tour dates:

Los Angeles: Book Reading and Signing at Urartu Coffee Shop, 119 N. Artsakh Ave. et, Glendale, on October 14 at 1:00 p.m.

Evanston, IL: Author event at St. James Armenian Church, on October 22 at 12:30 p.m.

Astrid will be reading her book and signing purchased copies. She would also be delighted to see her fellow AUA alumni there! 

Abril Bookstore will be donating part of the proceeds from BÁBO‘s sales to the Anna Astvatsaturian Foundation to aid forcibly displaced families from Artsakh. To follow Astrid’s journey, please click here.

Media Coverage:

[Asbarez] ‘Bábo’: Book by Author Astrid Kamalyan from Artsakh is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection