The Blessed Bananas
The Blessed Bananas
When I came to America as a little girl from Pakistan, I didn't know a lick of English. My first semester of first grade, I was regularly pulled out of homeroom to take ESL classes, and once I was able to communicate fluently, no one could get me to stop talking. There was so much I wanted to say and share with everyone. However, there was a challenge I faced: I was the only Pakistani and Muslim in my school.
I needed to find a medium to connect with the other kids, to understand them and to make them understand me. So, I turned to books. Library hour felt like being in a candy store. This led me to writing, which helped me connect with the other kids. I would journal and write stories and share with my classmates how similar we really were.
Although reading and writing eventually did help me make friends, I noticed something missing in the books I was reading -- I never truly saw myself in them. Was that how majority of children's literature supposed to be in America: excluding the rainbow of colors that supposedly make it a beautiful melting pot?
After years of journalism, I shifted gears toward creative fictional writing and was awarded first place for an Islamic fable I used to tell my kids at bedtime that I had made up for fun -- The Blessed Bananas. For the last year, I’ve presented the story as an entertaining puppet show for kids to help spark their imaginations and reiterate the ability in each of us as a storyteller. It will now be released as a picture book this coming fall.
"Our voices need to be heard, and books are that perfect medium to do that. They can make you feel anything, but what I want kids to truly feel is that, yes, they are somebody and their voice matters."
Saturday, Dec. 1
The Blessed Bananas Puppet Show
Sunday, Dec. 2
YMJ & MCNA Winter Writing Workshop Hanover, IL
Saturday, Dec. 8
Story-time Puppet Show
Saturday, March 1, 2019
West Chester Township, OH