Happy Thursday, everyone! Today I would like to introduce a good author friend and illustrator, Fatimah Ashaela Moore Ibrahim.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Fatimah Ashaela Moore Ibrahim and I am a writer and illustrator living in Houston. I went to Boston University and majored in Advertising because it was creative. I was always into writing and doing all kinds of art. After school, I was offered a position as an Animator. After a couple of years, I decided to do Art freelance so that I could use my talents on projects that could benefit the ummah. I began a company called Aakifah, where I began designing Islamic designs for t-shirts. I began illustrating for Creative Education and Publishing about a year ago??(I think!) and illustrated a number of books before saying to myself,,,,"you used to be a pretty good writer back in school....why don't you combine both talents?" And that is how I Love My Hijab was born!
What do you consider yourself first and foremost, an author or an illustrator?
I honestly have to say both!!!! I was into both heavily in high school (winning competitions in both!) ...but then focused on the art side more in college and beyond because I was able to make money doing it. Writing I Love My Hijab has just allowed my love of writing and art to come full circle.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
LOL! I used to write and illustrate books as early as 4th grade....I even remember writing one where a girl who had a beautiful horse had an accident and had to take medicine....my family got a kick out of that one!
What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
Wow...good question.....I loved books that had awesome illustrations. As a younger child, I loved books by Richard Scarry---awesome detailed drawings (I think that is how you spell his last name,,,I will check on that)...and as I got older, I had TONS of young adult novels that I would read...some of my favorites were Little Women and The Gift Of Magic...(I can get authors for you for these!)
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
My mother was an absolute rock star of seeing things that I showed interest in and finding ways for me to express and develop those talents. Growing up, all I wanted to do was go either to the book store or the art store.....that was my candy store right there!!! She also found competitions for me to get involved in as well.
What inspired you to write "I Love My Hijab"?
I Love My Hijab is actually based on the true story of my daughter's experience of wearing the Hijab to public school for the first time. There was real apprehension, and we talked about everything, and made dua about everything too. Without giving anything away, some of the imagery from the story is from me seeing her wearing the hijab, and also how it makes me feel as well.
Tell us a little bit about your story?
I Love My Hijab is about a young girls first day wearing the hijab to a public school after her parents convert to Islam. She has real worries about how she will be accepted, and if she will be treated differently. In it, she learns about faith, change, and confidence.
What was the road to publishing "I Love My Hijab" like for you?
It was absolutely fantastic. Alameddine Kaddoura, who is the CEO of Education and Publishing Inc was wonderful in working with me. I had already been working with him as an illustrator, and when I approached him about writing a book, he just told me to submit it and we could go from there. Alhamdulilah, he liked the story. Writing and illustrating it was truly a dream come true, as well as post production and working with Br. Kaddoura and Sr. Azra Momin who did the book's layout. They were awesome!
What do you hope children and adults will take away from your book?
I hope that this story will warm the hearts of Muslims and non Muslims alike. The themes are things everyone goes through....learning to deal with change and finding confidence in different situations. I hope Muslims will find a story that will make them love Islam even more, and that non Muslims will find a story where they learn about Islam and have an appreciation for it.
How can your book be used in the classroom?
Absolutely! It is an awesome teaching tool to use for children. Kids deal with these issues all of the time....wearing braces for the first time....or glasses,,,,anything that might make them different. I think it is important to show kids that change can be a positive thing.
What do you feel is the most challenging obstacle in the publishing industry?
I would have to say the advertising of your book. I have been working hard to create a presence on Facebook as well as do book fairs/signings/readings at local schools, contacting magazines, and trying to get my book into bookstores. It takes a lot of time and dedication, but it can be done.
What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?
Oh, that would have to be receiving my copies in the mail......there is no feeling like it. It is one thing to see the book on the computer screen as you work on it.....but when you see it in book form,,,,,it is amazing.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I am taking care of my family. I have two children and one on the way:) It is challenging trying to balance it all, but I just keep everything in prayer and take one thing at a time. Having the support of my awesome family is important too.
Are you working on a new book?
Yes!!!!!! I Love My Hijab is the first book in a series of 5 (The name of my series is "True Heart Series") the next four books are already laid out on paper....and will hopefully be following soon, InshaAllah!
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Get books that deal with real issues....This way, they will see the way other kids deal with situations. Get books that interest them as well! They will be more likely to start a habit of reading rather than getting bored.
What advice would you like give to new writers who wish to follow in your publishing footsteps?
Write from the heart. Draw on your experiences. Those are the stories that will really touch others.
Thank you so much for joining us today Fatimah and sharing your publishing journey with us.
And thank you SOOO much for having me!!!! I am truly honored and hope you all love the book as much as I do!