Libraries, author visits and some other things…

A collection of some interesting things (news articles, blog posts) that I’ve found over the few days that I wanted to share with you:

A mother, Muslim American resident in Saudi Arabia for several decades reminisces about growing up in the U.S. and spending lots of time reading at the local public library. Why is it she asks, do libraries not exist in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? Read more here. My own thoughts and experience with Arab culture tells me that there is simple a lack of a ‘reading culture.’ That is, the Saudi society displays an absence of a collective desire to read not just to improve the mind but for enjoyment. Today’s generation of children and youth prefer to relax with the television, gaming systems etc. You might say that this is no different than youth anywhere else in the world. But the fact is there are few libraries available to the public (academic libraries don’t count). 

Would you like an author to visit your classroom to talk about their books, do some activities, and get your children excited about books and reading? Author visits to schools are normal in many parts of the world (see this news article). I just wished children in Islamic schools can experience the same. On another note it was uplifting to read of a bookstore in the U.S. having an author visit, read stories and sign books earlier this year! See here.

I was happy to read about a new selection of books  about Islam and Muslims living in Europe being produced by a German publisher. Salam Verlag is a German publishing house that focuses on Islamic oriented literature for children. According to the founder of the publishign company:

No real reading material exists in the Islamic communities in Germany which promotes children’s self-confidence…

The language of publication is German but there are plans in the future for publishing in other languages. Read more here.

And that’s about what I wanted to share.

Have you seen/read anything in the news or elsewhere pertaining to reading, books and literacy? Please share. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Add a comment below or use the contact form or email muslimkidsbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Writers’ Resources

photo by louveciennes (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

 

Whether you’re a Muslim writer who has been published, an aspiring author, work in the Muslim publishing industry or an illustrator,  you may consider find the following two resources useful:     

 

Resources for Muslim Writers

A great resource for writers is the site appropriately titled Resources for Muslim Writers. It run by a freelance writer and editor, Sr. Amel Abduallah and is filled with a wide range of resources to help the new and veteran writer. From publications looking for submissions to writing competitions as well as a list of helpful writers’ websites, Resources for Muslim Writers is a site you will want to bookmark and return to again and again. Visit the site here: http://muslimwriters.blogspot.com/      

  

Islamic Writers Alliance Inc.

The Islamic Writers Alliance Inc. is an organisation that supports the development of writers. Members are Muslim and hail from around the globe and range from writers, illustrators, book retailers, publishers and educators. Members benefit from the support network the IWA provides through its online egroup. In addition, members get a profile page on the IWA website which is an opportunity to promote your work. For more information about the IWA and to join please visit: http://www.islamicwritersalliance.net/      

The IWA magazine (formerly called Islamic Ink) is a quarterly on-line magazine of the IWA. The IWA Magazine provides tips for writers, information about the publishing industry, book reviews, interviews of IWA members, fiction stories and nonfiction articles written by members. Read the new magazine and sign up to receive upcoming issues as soon as they are published here:  http://iwamagazine.wordpress.com

Meet the Author: Q & A with Linda (Widad) Delgado – PART 1

The Guide to Muslim Children’s Books and Media is dedicated to bring you information about authors of the wonderful books your child/students read. Today in “Meet the Author” I interview Linda D. Delgado (also known as Widad). She is a former police sergeant, writer (of the award-winning Islamic Rose Books series), publisher (Muslims Writers Publishing company), and founder of Islamic Writers Alliance (a network of Muslim professionals working in the literary field of books and the written word. This is part one of a two-part interview.

 

 

 

Assalamu alaykum Linda and welcome to the blog.

It was so wonderful of you to consent to doing this interview here on the Guide to Muslim Children’s Books and Media (MCBM) blog. I am looking forward to getting to know the author behind the lovely Islamic Rose Books series. I know that you are also a publisher so I am also hoping you will share some information about the Islamic publishing industry.    

Q. Please tell us a little about yourself.

A. I am a wife and mother (3), grandmother (8), and great grandmother (3). I live in the Southwest, U.S. and reverted to Islam in 2000. I spend most of my time writing, publishing, marketing, and promoting books I write and publish for other authors. I retired after a 26 year professional law enforcement career.    

Q. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

A. After retirement I had a heart attack and other health problems ended my plans to teach elementary school. Bored and wondering what I could do, I prayed. Then my 9 year old granddaughter told me that I told really good stories so why didn’t I write them? I said… why not! I then began writing the Islamic Rose Books series.    

Q. What inspired you to write The Visitors (book one in the Islamic Rose Books series)?

 

A. The Visitors is based on the actual event of the Saudi police officers staying in my home as guests while they were in the USA for one year learning English and attending advanced police officer courses with a local police department. I was still working as a police sergeant back then. My granddaughter said I should write about her and her friends too, so I had to write more books and I ended up writing 4 books, the Islamic Rose Books series.    

Saying Goodbye - Book 4 of Islamic Rose Books series

photo source Islamic Rose Books

 

Q. Did you initially conceive it as a series of four books or did the idea evolve as you began the first book?

 

A. When I began writing I didn’t know much about the technical side of writing a book such as every book having a beginning, middle, ending; plot, foreshadowing, POV, and such. I just wrote. I ended up with 28 chapters, but this was way too much content for one book. A dear friend and published author explained to me how I needed to divide the content and then make each book complete…stand on its own. It took a lot more work to do this, but this is how I learned how to become a fiction writer.    

 

 

Q. Why did you decide to do Teacher Study Guides for your books and how are they being used?

 

A. For the past seven years I have used profits from my authored books sales to purchase books for Islamic school libraries. In doing so I came into contact with many teachers and school administrators and also home schooling parents. I noticed that the schools sponsored book fairs but did not promote Muslim authored and published books; only secular books. I also noticed that only secular books were listed on school web site recommended reading lists. So I asked teachers and principals why they were not promoting and using Islamic fiction books in the classroom, recommending these books, and placing them in school libraries. Many said that the secular fiction books had teacher study guides which helped the teacher and enhanced students’ reading and comprehension. I did considerable research and discovered that Muslim publishers had not developed teacher study guides for fiction books they published. I had known for some years that many Muslim publishers also did not publish fiction books for older youth and teens.     

Teacher Study Guide for "The Visitor" by Linda Delgado

photo source Islamic Rose Books website

 

I did more research on the content of TSGs and then worked with a teacher, principal, and class of 20 Muslim students to develop and field test the first TSG we developed. It met with resounding approval from the teachers, principal, and students.     

Using the first TSG as a template, I created a TSG Team to help me develop more TSG for other fiction books I had published. It is expensive to first publish a book and then develop and publish an accompanying TSG. Someone told an online Muslim organization that raises money for worthy causes about my TSG project. This organization raised money from Muslims world-wide to help me pay for the design cost for the additional 5 TSGs my Team developed.     

It took 2 years for this project and unfortunately now that I have some TSGs available the Islamic schools have been slow to respond. However I am very pleased that this year two Islamic schools decided to purchase a couple of Islamic books with accompanying TSG and will be using them in the classroom with their students. It is a beginning of what I hope will one day become standard practice. Our Muslim children and youth need to read quality Islamic fiction and know there are very talented Muslims writing and publishing fun, creative, non-preaching fiction books that are halal but great stories they can enjoy and learn from.    

Q. How has the Islamic Rose Books series been received by the Muslim community and the wider community? What about worldwide?

A. It is difficult to say.  The series has been published and then republished by my own publishing company.  The series has been translated and republished in Indonesia. The DAT translation organization in Egypt translated the series into Arabic and this version of the series I have in pdf ebook format. The books are sold in South Africa, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and in a dozen Muslim retail stores in the USA and they are also available at online secular book retailers like Amazon.com.  I think kids and adults enjoy the books as they are still selling 9 years after I wrote them. I wouldn’t categorize the series as a best seller but sales remain steady year after year. I get lots of emails from both children and adults saying how much they enjoy the books. Many ask me to write more. (:    

Q. Besides the Islamic Rose Books, what other books have you written?

A Muslim’s Guide to Publishing and Marketing, which provides basic information and is what is called a ‘How to’ type book.    

Halal Food, Fun and Laughter by Linda Delgado

photo source Muslim Writers Publishing

 

–I also wrote and published a cookbook titled, Halal Food, Fun, and Laughter. It is unique in that the book includes Hadith and Aya that are food specific, short and funny stories about things related to food and cooking, a few funny food poems. Instead of pictures of food I have illustrations of a Miss Spoon character illustration doing funny things in the kitchen.    

Grandma & Hijab-EZ Family Activity Book

photo source Muslim Writers Publishing

 

–Collaborating with the illustrator for all books I publish, sister Shirley Anjum, we created the book, Grandma & Hijab-Ez Family Activity Book. We used the comic strips I created and which were published, to create 68 coloring pages, I then developed 8 seek & find puzzles and there is a section for parents called “Talking Points” that can be used to discuss the fiqh lessons incorporated in the 8 short stories in the book.    

     

Q. Are you writing any books at present?

A. I am working on a new book series. The first book is in design and I expect it to be published by the end of May, this year. I am already working on the second book for this series. The series is written at the teen/young adult/adult reading level and is a crime thriller genre.    

Part 2 of this interview will follow soon.

 
Visit the Islamic Rose Books series website  to meet Rose and her friends and try some fun activities (recipes, comic strip and interesting facts about places mentioned in the books).    

Learn more about what is Islamic Fiction (IF) at IslamicFictionBooks.com    

Find more of Linda Delgado’s books and titles published by her company at Muslim Writers Publishing.    

Read a review of The Visitor.