To mark #IslamicBookDay , we have asked a number of authors some questions in the hope that this will inspire a new wave of Islamic literature for children. If you have a desire to write, or have little ones who have shown an interest in writing, this may give you some motivation!
Hajera Memon is the founder of Shade 7 Publishing.
- What’s your favourite Islamic children’s book?
Islam: Beliefs and Teachings by Ghulam Sarwar. This is by no means a children’s book, but it was an Islamic book which I grew up with fondly. We didn’t have any Islamic children’s books when I was young and so my father would read me stories of the prophets from this book and I would also do my Sunday school homework from it. I remember the pink illustrations and the tiny font and I loved listening to the stories. Aside from this, Alhamdulillah, I was really lucky to have my father translate the Arabic stories directly from the Quran as he would read to me!
- As a child, what did you aspire to be?
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an inventor. This then swiftly moved onto a police woman with a horse (specifically with a horse, not just a normal police woman!), the CEO of a company, to an investment banker and possibly a lawyer in there somewhere…! As a child, the intriguing aspect of solving common problems through creative solutions always excited me. SubhanAllah, I think life has a way of guiding our course back to our core and the more I reflect on the desire to be an inventor, the more I see the parallels with being an entrepreneur!
- What advice do you have for children wanting to write a book?
Read! Anything and everything, read what you enjoy! I wasn’t really encouraged to read much as a child, as my father strongly felt there was no real book worthy of being read other than the Quran. He still passionately holds the belief that the Quran contains the best stories of all time and hence listening to Islamic stories was a big part of my own childhood.
Going on to study English Literature at A-Level and discovery a variety of literature through the ages, I found that the best writing was produced when I was in a zone of reading myself. To budding young writers, I’d recommend reading different genres of books, not necessarily all Islamic, as reading increases vocabulary, educates and opens minds.
Thank you Hajera!