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Celebrate Ramadan with Marzieh Abbas!



Hi, readers, writers, and book fanatics, too! We're thrilled that the lovely and inspiring Marzieh Abbas is back with us today sharing two of her books, A Ramadan to Remember and Awe-Samosas! These books are filled with friendship, family, and kindness and are perfect reads for Ramadan. Want to know more about Marzieh, her beautiful books, PLUS want a chance to win a Free Author Visit & reading of her new book, Awe-Samosas? Read on...


Q: Hi, Marzieh. Thanks so much for joining us again at  #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re thrilled to host you (it’s always such a treat connecting with you) and to hear all about your beautiful books, A Ramadan to Remember and Awe-Samosas.


A Ramadan to Remember follows Zain who recently moves to a new neighborhood with no mosque or Islamic school. Can you share more about Zain and your story?


A: Moving can be tough and moving countries or cities when you are a kid can be really overwhelming. I drew from my experience of moving countries when I was 11, along with losing your friends, you also have to adjust to a new neighborhood, a new school, and so much more. Since many children have experienced the same, I used this universal theme, along with specifics about what Zain would miss, being a Muslim, during a special time of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan.




Q: I love how your book sheds a light on the importance of fasting, volunteering, and community, as well as the festivities and prayers that occur during the month! What advice would you give to others looking to incorporate multiple layers into their manuscript? We know that’s challenging to execute!


A: It’s challenging incorporating all that Ramadan means (or several layers) into a picture book. Fasting is primarily an act of worship– Muslims fast because Allah asked them to. But there is so much more related to community, charity, and family that occurs with extra zeal and momentum during this month. With the limited word count in picture books, I would recommend relying heavily on the visuals doing a big chunk of the weight-lifting. Najwa Awatiff is such a talented illustrator, and I’m lucky to have had a fellow Muslim creator, who understood the culture, bring this book to life. With multiple layers, it’s important to have the layers tie in and help move a story along, without complicating the plot.


Q: Such excellent advice - thanks for sharing!



Awe-Samosas! is another sweet and newly-released book of yours! It follows Noor as she attempts to make her Dadijaan’s Special Samosa recipe. When she can’t get in touch with Dadijaan she improvises her recipe. Can you share more about this story and how you blended both a heartfelt message and problem-solving skills into the book? 


A: Noor is an experimental cook and so am I. I love a good challenge and wanted to display Noor’s excitement, her identity, and her can-do attitude in this book. It’s so important to show kids that things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. What matters is your attitude, and how you make-do with what you have. Noor is a perfectionist and is thrown off-course when she can’t find her grandma’s recipe. With grandma, Dadijaan, all the way in Pakistan, Noor is left to her own devices to execute her plans. When another hurdle (a lack of peas) complicates matters further, Noor must again find the courage to persevere. I won’t give-away the end, but I will say Noor has a talking parrot who helps her calm down and make Awe-samosas! What are Awe-samosas? You’ll have to read the book to find out!



Q: Congratulations on your recent board book announcement - you are on a roll!! Can you share more about this adorable series and when they release? 


A: I’m lucky to have three board books picked up by Little Bee Publishers, and I’m so grateful to have Anoosha Syed illustrating them. The books are super short, rhyming texts about joyful Muslim family gatherings– Radiant Ramadan, Excited for Eid, and Friday Fun. 


I initially wrote the Eid one as a picture book. When an editor loved it, but wasn’t able to get their team onboard, my agent, Lynnette Novak, suggested I write two more books, and we could pitch it as a set. It felt kind of rebellious (to try and sell three books when one didn’t sell!) but I got to it. When it went out on sub, we had interest within the first week! I can’t wait for everyone to see Anoosha’s beautiful illustrations!




PSST, Readers. Since this interview, Marzieh has had ANOTHER amazing deal announcement. Check this out and SUPER-HUGE congrats to her!!



Q: For those looking to learn more about and/or celebrate Ramadan, what other titles of yours can we check out?





A:  I have another book titled: Hamza and Aliya Share the Ramadan Cheer. It’s primarily for Muslim children (it’s published by a Muslim publisher based in California) and so it doesn’t go into the details of many of the Islamic terms. However, if readers don’t mind doing some research, it’s a great picture book for ages 6 to 8. It also shares fun recipes that the family in the book create in the story.



Q: What’s something you’re excited to be working on currently?


A: I finally got around to posting my newsletter with a picture log of all the fun author-y stuff I did on a recent trip to the US. Since I live in Pakistan, I don’t get to see my books out in the wild. I hope your readers will consider checking out my latest post here:



I’m also currently updating my website and getting ready to launch Awe-Samosas!


Thanks again for joining us, Marzieh! It was a pleasure as always - we love hearing your wonderful news and can't wait to check out all your awesome books.



Q: Would you like to leave a sweet treat for our readers?


A: I'd love to leave a treat!! If you’re a parent, a librarian, or a teacher, or if you know one, I’d love to offer free author visits between March 26th to March 29th to celebrate the release of Awe-Samosas!


I’ll be capping it at 20 visits (and discussing a mutually suitable time), so this will be on a first-come-first-served basis. 


WOW! Thanks so much for such a wonderful and generous treat! To enter this giveaway, and to help support Marzieh, please 1) share this post on social media and 2) email Marzieh at Contact – Marzieh Abbas, to let her know you shared and are interested in a visit.


Please also leave a comment below to thank Marzieh for stopping by.






About Marzieh Abbas:


Marzieh enjoys learning new skills, jumping rope, sipping chai, and observing nature. Marzieh dreams of owning a talking parrot someday. But until then, she lives in Pakistan with her husband and children who inspire her daily. She occasionally writes under the name: Marzieh A. Ali.



For more about Marzieh, check out the below links:


Twitter/X: @MarziehAbbas  


To purchase Marzieh's books, or to leave a review for them, click here!



 



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8 Comments


Such a fantastic journey for you. Congrats! So much we can learn from your books.

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Awesome! Congratulations! So many wonderful books!

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congratulations on all of your success! these look like wonderful books!


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Thanks for the tips...With multiple layers, it’s important to have the layers tie in and help move a story along, without complicating the plot. Best wishes.

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Congratulations on all your upcoming releases! Awe-Samosas! looks adorable!

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