When I first started researching about Islamic children’s books and wanted to read reviews of some of the books I had seen, I came across this page by Reem Faruqi. After exploring her site I realised that aside from being a talented photographer and children’s book enthusiast, she also had recently had snagged her first children’s book deal – Lailah’s Lunchbox! I immediately contacted her and have kept a watch on her Facebook page for impending news about her book.
She has just released the cover and has graciously agreed to answer some questions that we have for her.
I know there are many readers on the look out for new books, and there are also many aspiring authors who will be glad to know that with patience and perseverance, it’s all possible! Read on for more details about the author and the book!
1. What is the book about? What ages does it target and what content can our readers expect to find in it?
When writing Lailah’s Lunchbox, I reflected on my earlier memories of moving to America.
Here’s my summary:When Lailah moves from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City, Georgia, she realizes her best friends are miles away. She feels even more estranged when she realizes no one else is fasting with her at school. Adding to her dilemma is a note from her mother to her teacher, explaining why Lailah doesn’t have her lunchbox, and Lailah still hasn’t given her teacher the note. Her classmates simply think Lailah has forgotten her lunchbox…again. Will Lailah have the courage to tell her class about this special time for her?
I used to teach 2nd grade, so I wrote this book targeting that age group, 7-8 and up. However, I read the story to my 4 year old and she really liked it too! Lea Lyon did such a beautiful job illustrating the story! I believe it will captivate even the little ones.
2. How did you go about getting published?
By trying and trying again! I did receive lots of rejections in the beginning, took a break, tried again, and it worked! I recommend sitting down with the “Children’s Writer & Illustrator’s Market” and circling publishers that stand out to you. I remember circling and highlighting Tilbury House Publishers, a publishing company that published diverse books, books that promote compassion. They stood out in my mind as the books they produced are beautiful! They matched the stories that I wanted to write or had written. That was one of the publishers that I sent my story to and they said yes to “Lailah’s Lunchbox!” To read my whole story, you can visit my site here: http://reemfaruqi.com/2014/07/20/lailahs-lunchbox-a-book-deal/
I also recommend reading a bunch of children’s books! Before I wrote a Ramadan story, I read and reviewed many Ramadan books here ( http://reemfaruqi.com/childrens-book-reviews-by-the-doodler/ ) and looked at what stood out to me. Many stories were about children fasting at home with their family waiting longingly for Iftar! I wanted a different take on a Ramadan story, so I set Lailah in a school setting and coping with the challenges there.
3. When will it be released and where will it be available?
The book will be out in June 2015, right before Ramadan! I’m really excited that Tilbury House Publishers worked to get the book done in time for Ramadan. It should be available on Amazon, the Tilbury site, and more!
At Read Little Muslims we are passionate about books for Little Muslims, and supporting Muslim authors. A huge congratulations to Reem Faruqi! We cannot wait to read this book, in sha Allah 🙂