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Celebrate Ramadan with Sahtinay Abaza!



Hi, parents, librarians, book fanatics, writers, and readers of all sorts! Today is the first day of Ramadan and we're so excited to feature debut author, Sahtinay Abaza, and her TWO beautiful new books - The Ramadan Drummer and Looking for the Eid Moon! Sahtinay's books are both wonderful reads and focus on the meaning of Ramadan by showcasing love, family togetherness, and acts of kindness. Want to know more about Sahtinay, her new books, PLUS want a chance to win her 2-book giveaway? Read on...


Q: Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re thrilled to host you, and to hear about your beautiful newly-released books, The Ramadan Drummer and Looking for the Eid Moon. Can you share a little bit about your journey in becoming a children’s author? 


A: Thank YOU for having me! What an honor it is to be featured on your blog! I never imagined I would be a children’s book author. But when I became a mother of two little girls, I admired how fun and whimsical the holidays were here in the United States. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an engaging tale to read to my kids about any of the Muslim holidays we celebrate. So, I decided to take matters into my own hand and write my first book, “Looking for the Eid Moon.”


Of course, I received countless rejections. But one in particular stood out to me. In her rejection letter, Editor Nancy Paulsen suggested that I join SCBWI. Not only did I take her advice, I decided I would utilize all the valuable resources that SCBWI has to offer. I attended numerous conferences, workshops and joined the SCBWI mentorship program, where I was paired with the incredible Author Laurie Friedman, who had a tremendous impact on my writing journey. My new and improved manuscript helped me secure representation from my literary agent Lynnette Novak, won the 2019 SCBWI Emerging Voices Award, and motivated me to write my second book, “The Ramadan Drummer.” 



Q: How fascinating - I love how you took the advice from your rejection and have two amazing books to show for it!


The Ramadan Drummer follows Adam, the main character, on a magical journey during Ramadan - and discovers its true meaning. Can you share more about Adam and his journey in your story?


A: During Ramadan, Muslims will not eat or drink as long as the sun is up. And so, long before the alarm clocks were invented, there were drummers who strolled the streets before sunrise to make sure everyone was awake for their last meal before fast. 


But, when Adam, the protagonist of this story, hears his family reminisce about the drummer who woke them up when they were young, he is surprised because this tradition does not exist anymore. That night, whether in a dream or reality, Adam wakes up to the sound of a beating drum. Curious, he sneaks out of his house and follows the sound, up and down the winding alleys, until he meets the Ramadan Drummer. Together, they walk alongside each other, beating the drum until all the homes are lit. As people wake up, Adam hears whispers drifting from the homes he passes by. Some carry happy news, others sad. That’s when the Drummer reminds Adam that during Ramadan, every act of kindness is rewarded tenfold.   


Q: Your book touches on so many key values of Ramadan. What values can readers expect to see and learn about Ramandan while reading your story? 


A: Most people think of Ramadan as fasting long hours of the day with no food or water. But during this month, Muslims believe that the gates to heaven are open, and every act of kindness is rewarded tenfold. In countries that are predominantly Muslim, there is a great sense of community during this month. People open their homes to family, friends, and even strangers, sharing their food and breaking their fast together. Mosques and neighborhoods host mercy tables with free food for anyone to eat. People donate money to sponsor a free meal for someone in need. I hope this story emphasizes the importance of community and thinking of others while reviving an old tradition that is somewhat forgotten. 


Readers, check out this beautiful artwork from Dinara Mirtalipova!






Q: You also have a new book releasing soon titled, Looking for the Eid Moon. Congrats on 2 books in one year! 


Can you share more about this book?


A: In “Looking for the Eid Moon,” Sara and her younger sister, Lulu, can’t wait to celebrate the Eid holidays. But Eid will not begin until the crescent moon is spotted. That is because Muslims follow the lunar calendar and rely on the moon’s shape to mark important holidays and dates. 


Determined they will be the first to spot it, Sara and Lulu pack a pair of binoculars, a blanket, and a flashlight in their backpack and go on a little quest to find the moon. As the sky grows dark, they learn to be patient and show courage. Unfortunately, after a long wait they fail to find it. That is because the crescent moon is faint and hard to see. Disappointed, the girls return home. But Sara is determined to cheer her sister up. This story highlights the special bond between sisters and how the holidays shared with loved ones is always filled with magic.  


Q: Why is Looking for the Eid Moon a wonderful read alongside The Ramadan Drummer


A:  Each book offers a fun and light holiday read, while introducing an old Muslim tradition for kids to enjoy in both a simple and engaging way. With all the violence taking place around the world today, our children are in desperate need of stories that are filled with joy and hope. 


Readers, check out this beautiful artwork from Sandra Eide!




Q: What do you want people who are unfamiliar with Ramadan and Eid to walk away knowing?


A: Many diverse books emphasize how we eat different, we dress different, we have different names, we celebrate different holidays, etc. But the truth is, in this global world we live in, we are much more alike than different. Regardless of our background and faith, our children wear similar clothes, they enjoy the same books and music, they prefer pizza and burgers over ethnic food. Even our holidays have a lot in common. We all celebrate by gathering around family and friends. We exchange gifts, we wear our best clothes, and want to create fun and memorable memories with our loved ones.


What a wonderful message, Sahtinay. Thanks again for joining us - it was such a pleasure!


Readers, want to know what we thought of Sahtinay's books? You can find our reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.



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


A: Yes, I would love to leave a treat! One free signed copy of BOTH of my books to one winner!


WOW! Thanks so much for such an amazing treat!


Giveaway Details: To enter to win this giveaway, and to help support Sahtinay, please 1) share this post on social media and 2) leave a comment below and let her know why you can't wait to read her books. The winner will be chosen and announced on this post on or about 3/17!


Note: Books will be shipped in the US only.



About Sahtinay Abaza:


Sahtinay Abaza has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA. She spent most of her career life working with software companies around the globe. She grew up in the United Arab Emirates before making Florida her permanent home. Having experienced life on both ends of the globe, she is an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Most importantly, Sahtinay is a proud mother of two little girls, who have been the main source of inspiration behind the stories she writes.


 For more about Sahtinay & her publishers, check out the below:


Instagram: @abazabooks 

Twitter/X: @abazabooks

Facebook: @abazabooks


Reycraft (The Ramadan Drummer): 

Instagram: @reycraftbooks


Sleeping Bear Press (Looking for the Eid Moon): 

TikTok: @sleepingbearpress



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



 



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16 Comments


What a fantastic journey for you! Congrats! There is so much to be learned from your books.

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Wow these books look amazing

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Congratulations on both books! They sound amazing!

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Replying to

Hi, Katie, CONGRATS!! We drew your name as winner of Sahtinay's giveaway! We'll be in touch soon with more details. Thanks for tuning in!



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Thanks for sharing your journey and your lovely books. I look forward to reading them!

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Amy Houts
Amy Houts
Mar 11

I love the themes of kindness and community, joy and hope. Thank you for sharing about Muslim holidays, Sahtinay. We are more alike than different.

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