Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi

Hello, Reem Faruqi! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! I always love celebrating books with you. Thank you for stopping by to share Anisa’s International Day’s beautiful cover.

Reem Faruqi: Thank you, Mr. Schu, for your enthusiasm and for always hyping us up! I appreciate it.

Please tell us about the moment Aaliyah Jaleel captures on the cover.

Reem Faruqi: Anisa is in her element and full of joy! After a little bit of a friendship scuffle and dilemma of what to bring in for International Day, she is proud to be Pakistani and celebrate with her class on International Day. I love that she’s holding the Pakistan flag and wearing glasses. I wore glasses when I was a child so I hope all the glasses-wearing kids out there feel a connection with Anisa when they see this cover.

                 Illustration Credit: Aaliya Jaleel | Design Credit: Molly Fehr

Imagine the owner of Little Shop of Stories asks you to booktalk Anisa’s International Day to all the booksellers. What do you share with them?

Reem Faruqi: Anisa’s International Day is a story of celebrating one’s culture, learning to speak up, apologizing and making things right.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Turtles are the better version of tortoises.

International Day is a favorite day of mine because you can celebrate one’s culture, eat delicious food, and dress up!

John Schu, you should have asked me who Anisa is inspired by. My cousin Amena inspired the Anisa character, and initially my character was called Amena and her sister Zainab. Then I saw on Disney, there was a show American Eid with my exact character names of Amena and Zainab for the sisters. Whoops!

My characters love to bake and call their bakery the A to Z Bakery, so I ended up changing the names to my daughters names, Anisa and Zineera. The character Anisa looks a lot like my daughter. I had sent Aaliyah photos of Anisa and was so excited to see Anisa become a book character!

Thank you, Reem! 

Reem Faruqi is the ALA Notable author of Lailah’s Lunchbox, Amira’s Picture Day, I Can Help, Golden Girl, and Unsettled, which is loosely based on Reem’s own story. Of Pakistani descent, Reem immigrated to Peachtree City, Georgia, in the United States from the United Arab Emirates when she was thirteen years old. Reem is also a teacher and photographer who loves to doodle. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three daughters. 

Look for Anisa's International Day on September 20, 2022. 


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