There’s no better way to spend a chilly winter afternoon than joining a book reading with a group of literary enthusiasts. Moreover, what makes it much more special is that it’s a reading for a children’s book by a Muslim author! Lanterns is proud of the changing landscape as Canadian Muslim authors have taken on the children’s book world by storm. With several recent publications, parents should keep an eye out for a number of new additions to add to their little ones’ bookshelf.
One such book has been brought to us by a dynamic duo who have braved the front to expand the horizon for children’s literature in Canada. Author Sumaiya Noori and illustrator Ridwan Naik—both Canadian Muslims—wrote a book that features a Muslim family, but what makes their book special is the simple fact that it has been written for an audience that has a scope beyond the Muslim population.
Both Sumaiya and Ridwan work in the field of education, as teachers, and books are a part of their daily lives. They felt that our communities and classrooms should have access to reading material where the main characters are from a Muslim background, but the subject matter is universal. In their book, “Sana’s Startling Sneeze”, the characters share an amusing series of experiences that could have been portrayed with any family. However, the illustrator’s magic gives this book a wonderful look and feel as all the main characters are visibly Muslim. Both author and illustrator hope that their book will help Muslim children living in North America see themselves as any other kid growing up in this part of the world. Their work aims to normalize the Muslim image and the Muslim family among mainstream reading material, portraying the similarities between Muslims and others, instead of the differences.
The book reading at the Modah store was bustling with little kids who spent the first part of the event coloring pages featuring characters from the book, while the parents got a chance to speak to the author and illustrator about their work. Later on, as the reading began, the author spun the characters to life with her animated rendition of Sana and a very startling experience through the embedding of authentic sneezes. The interactive reading had the kids giggling and shouting out answers as the story pages turned, as Sumaiya narrated the tale.
Modah was the perfect place for the reading, with a cute and comfortable ambiance, accompanied by cups of tea and snacks for everyone! Lanterns would like to wish Sumaiya and Ridwan all the best in this new adventure, and we hope to see more books in the series of Sana and her family!
To learn more about the book and other upcoming titles by the author, visit their Facebook page here.