Thursday

Blogger: Saara

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu Sisters.

I am extremely honoured today to introduce you to fabulous Saara. Who is blogging her passion for the love of books on muslimkidsbooks.wordpress.com. Saara has generously agreed to answer a few questions about her life, interests and goals to sisterswhoblog.

So sit back and enjoy!
Amber: Saara, can you please tell us a little about your background?

Saara: I grew up in a home filled with five children and many books! My parents always read stories to my siblings and me. We frequented the library and bought books when we could. Books were in my blood. I guess that is why I ended up being a librarian. But being a librarian is more than just about reading and loving books. For me, being a librarian is about organising information to help people (children, youth and adults) make better decisions in their lives whether it is in the home, school or work place.

After working as a Children’s Librarian in public libraries (in two different countries), I became a librarian in an Islamic school. With a marriage, a move to Saudi Arabia and a baby, I became a stay-at-home-mom. Eventually things settled down and after many requests from parents to suggest good reading material for their children I decided, after much contemplation and dua, to actually start documenting these suggestions. The result was The Guide to Muslim Children’s Books and Media (muslimkidsbooks.wordpress.com)


Amber: Give me 3 words that best describes your personality.

Saara: Three words that could be used to describe my personality are: pleasant, good listener and helpful.

Amber: What do you hope to accomplish through muslimkidsbooks?

Saara: I wanted parents, teachers and caregivers to learn about the variety of Islamic literature (fiction and non –fiction) that is available to their children and teenagers. When we allow children and young adults to read about Muslims like themselves we help to strengthen their Muslim identity and provide realistic role models. But more than this, I wanted to showcase the fabulous works of Muslim authors who deserve a place in our lives because of their talent and dedication.
Finally, the underlying motivation for all of the blog was my desire to promote a love for reading from an early age. It is vital that parents support their children by taking them to the library and reading aloud with them on a daily basis. Reading and gaining knowledge is central to being a Muslim. My deepest hope is to see the Muslim ummah grow into a literate ummah.  


Amber: What challenges do you face reviewing Muslim fictional books?

Saara: Muslim fiction is different from a fictional works with a Muslim character or written by a Muslim. Muslim fiction is an attempt to present stories that show characters solving their problems in an Islamic way. I urge readers to have a look at IslamicFictionBooks.com, a website dedicated to explaining what Islamic fiction is, the authors who write these books and the benefits of it.

I recently became acquainted with a sister, an author and publisher of several young adult books, who laments the fact that Muslim parents and schools are not encouraging their children to read Islamic fiction. Without valuable support from the Muslim community writers and publishers will not be able to thrive.


Amber: How many books do you plan to review this year?
Saara: At present, my aim is to try and review about two books per week, insha’Allah. I have a pile of books waiting to be reviewed. Among them are many Islamic fiction books that are not new publications, yet I will be reviewing them since my aim is to get readers to know the themes and benefit of them. I also accept book copies from publishers and writers. Later in the year, insha’Allah, I wish to start conducting interviews with authors; allowing them to speak about their works and their passion for writing.


Amber: What are your favourite blogs? Why?

Saara:
There are just a few blogs that I frequent regularly. The one that stands out though is IamSheba. It is the site of Heba Alshareef, motivational speaker, writer and teacher. I love this site because Heba has a unique way of putting inspiration and information into words that can transform your life. The site is all about getting women to recognise their potential, develop their self-esteem, become self motivated and achieve their best.


Amber: Who are your favourite non-Muslim Authors?

Saara: I try to read books from various authors and in different genres. However, I enjoy the classics a great deal as well as biographies and historical fiction.

Amber: What’s your definition of a perfect day?

Saara: This is a beautiful question. An ideal ‘perfect day’ for me would be a stroll through a historic city like Fez (Morocco); sampling delectable foods and browsing shops for some unique gift. I came very near to this on a visit to Egypt last summer (2009) when I sailed down the Nile one quiet evening and visited Khan-e-Khalili (in Old Cairo) on another.

Thank you for this interview and for considering my blog to be included among the other wonderful blogs you have profiled so far. May Allah reward you for your efforts.



I wish to dearly thank Saara for being my guest today. Jazak Allah Khairan for taking the time to share with us your passion and desire to promote a love for reading to young Muslims.
The Muslim community certainly needs more purpose driven Sisters such as Saara, who value literacy and a love for reading.

If you have any questions for Saara please comment below. She’ll be glad to hear from you and respond to your comments.

Salam


images: Amber's selection from ikea & net

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