I'm honoured to welcome a special guest to the blog today, author Umm Juwayriyah, to answer some questions about a wonderful and important new initiative! Check it out...
Please start by telling us a little about you and what you do:
I am a teacher (of course!) and author of children's and YA books. I have taught in the United States and in Kuwait and Sudan. Currently, I am an educator in Massachusetts. I have five published books, including the first urban Muslim fiction English novel: The Size of a Mustard Seed, Hind's Hands ~ A Story About Autism, The Princess and The Good Deed, Tried & Tested, and Yaseen's Big Dream.
How and when did the idea for #MuslimGirlsRead begin?
While I was teaching abroad four years ago, I saw a post on social media about a mother in the States who had suffered a lost of her family's belongings in a house fire. The religious month of Ramadhan was approaching and she was requesting books for her daughters who were avid readers. The mother just wanted her daughters to have some books to read that represented them and their community while they were experiencing hardships. My daughter and I were really touched by the requests and we sent them all of our books. My daughter decided to ask some other author friends for donations so that we could send them even more books, and we received a great response for the Muslim writing community worldwide. From there the idea for #MuslimGirlsRead was born.
How did you go about setting up this initiative? Have you had a lot of support?
My daughter and I started a page on Facebook, sent out letters and invites to friends, and we put up $100 initially to fund the initiative. Every Ramadhan we fund is to raise enough money to support the purchase of books written by Muslim authors with Muslim characters to send to innercity Muslim families, schools, and public libraries around the country. We have raised over $2500 and have sent books to children in Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, Ohio, and Philadelphia.
What's your goal for #MuslimGirlsRead?
Our goal for #MuslimGirlsRead is to apply for non-profit status this year so that we can continue to raise money to send out Muslim fiction to innercity communities in the United States and fund a scholarship for Muslim students studying writing, journalism, and education.
And how are things going so far?
Things are going well thus far. We have a t-shirt line on Amazon Merch, word is spreading about #MuslimGirlsRead, Muslim authors are donating books, and our yearly Ramadhan fundraisers allows us to support 4-5 families, schools, and libraries.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!