– Fatima Ragie, 9 April 2021

Reading is a means of empowering and developing ourselves, especially our youth. By reading, children broaden their horizons. Literacy is a critical tool in our information age, where a simple thing like understanding questions can make all the difference in an assessment setting.

At the same time, we need to identify with our reading. We need to read high quality, fun and engaging content that very importantly speaks to our lived, diverse experiences. I personally grew up reading largely Eurocentric books, and that impacted the way I approached and interacted with the world. The settings in the books were the norm, and hence my world was the outlier…

Muhammad wrote the story from a point of inspiration, to tell a story that reflected our identities. He wrote a story that was filled with all the mystery and magic of adventure that should be part of every girl’s and boy’s childhood. When I look back and examine the story, I’m happy to see the protagonist Abu Ubaidah is confident, hard-working, and loving to his family. I feel that the character, brought to life by Ayesha’s illustrations will motivate my son (Abu Ubaidah) to set out his own journeys of discovery, Insha’Allah.

P.S. We named the hardware store owner after my nana (Cassim). Grandparents have and continue to be so important in shaping our identities and experiences, for both us and our son.

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