Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi and Hatem Aly
Hello, Saadia Faruqi! Thank you so much for celebrating Meet Yasmin! with me today. How will you celebrate Yasmin’s book birthday tomorrow?
Saadia: It’s strange to be celebrating a character’s birthday, but it somehow feels natural because Yasmin has become such a big part of my family! We often talk about how Yasmin would do something or what she would say in a certain situation. I’m planning on a cake with her picture on it, and some family time with my children reading out aloud from Meet Yasmin! And I may treat myself with a visit to the spa just to give myself a pat on the back!
Yasmin is an explorer, a builder, a painter and a fashionista. What else does she love doing on her own and with her family?
Saadia: Yasmin is modeled after my own daughter, who is a little older than Yasmin now. But she’s also her own person, who has these little qualities that are just so uniquely Yasmin! She loves reading with her Baba, and working on crafts projects with her grandparents. She really enjoys going out with her Mama, very similar to the way my daughter and I have girls’ day when we go shopping and then a nice lunch somewhere. Yasmin is also a very curious child so she likes to know how things work and how to fix things that are broken. You see some of that in Yasmin the Fashionista.
Please finish these sentence starters:
Yasmin’s family is hard working, supportive and loving… just like every other American family. Part of the reason I wrote Meet Yasmin! is to showcase a normal American family, to remind readers that even though some moms may cover their heads, or some dads may have beards, or some families may include grandparents, they are all essentially the same. American is no one way of living… some people wear different sorts of clothes, speak in a different language, or eat different foods, they are still the same as everyone else.
Hatem Aly’s illustrations are beyond my expectations! They bring Yasmin and her family to life in a way that is spectacular! He really allows me to expand what I’m saying because of the emotion and movement in every illustration. I’m very lucky to have him on my team.
Story is essential to life. Without storytelling we would probably not have survived as humans. We need stories to teach us about the past, and to share traditions with each other, and even sometimes predict the future. It’s such a powerful tool, which is why I’m a writer.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me why I started writing for kids after so many years as an adult fiction and essay writer. Yasmin started out as a picture book manuscript about a little girl who makes a map of her neighborhood and then uses it when she gets lost. After multiple edits she morphed into an older girl with a family and a life in school and in multiple stories we see today. Somewhere along the way I realized that although writing for adults was exciting, there was nothing more exciting than writing for a child who may see herself in the pages of a book for the first time! Our youngest readers are so eager to read stories that reflect their experiences, and I thought that should definitely extend all the way to the roots of the family and where you are from and everything that makes up a first generation American child from an immigrant family.
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