Razeena Gutta is the author and founder of Read Little Muslims. I first noticed her a few months ago on Facbeook. I saw her site pop up and instantly clicked ‘Like.’ Her words resonated with me. She’s based in Australia and is passionate about books being produced for Little Muslims from around the world. Her site supports children’s books from other authors and illustrators and she is quick to feature their work proudly on her site, making her site an exciting hub for literature for little Muslims!
She sent me her book We’re Little Muslims all the way from Australia, a book that Z has already said is her favorite book(it has been added to her bedtime books!) and that it reminds her of Sunday School. I enjoyed the child-friendliness of the book and the gentle way it introduced facts about Prophet Muhammad in there. I can’t wait for more books from her. Interview below!
1. How did you choose the characters Faatimah & Ahmed?
I chose the names because I wanted them to be immediately identifiably Muslim and I wanted children with those names and those who know children with those names, as they are so common, to see themselves in a book. I wanted Muslim children to relate to them immediately. They are both slightly older than my two children are currently and as this book started out as just a story for them, I needed them to be characters that they’d look up to.
2. What is it you want children and parents and teachers to get from reading your book? I liked the way you shared just a few facts — my 4 year old Z latched onto them!
I wanted this to be a book children would WANT to read and not one that they’d have to be coaxed to read. Its bright, colourful and shows two children having a bit of fun but learning at the same time. I want to pass this attitude on… It’s important to inculcate a love for learning from young, and I hope that this book can be a tool to help parents and teachers help their little ones to learn.
3. When did you start Read Little Muslims?
I started Read Little Muslims in July 2014. Alhamdulillah it has been a great journey so far!
4. How did you get a good following for them? I noticed you have 6,000 + likes!Read Little Muslims seemed to attract a lot of interest on Facebook when I first started out – While Facebook has its limitations, it is a great tool to spread the word about what I am trying to do – which is create a forum to find, view and review great books and to support Muslim authors – After Facebook, I started a website where I also sell other great quality books (mainly to my local market in Australia), and joined Instagram and Twitter. Through these outlets I made contact with so many people worldwide, all looking for the same thing – a way to teach our children in a manner that is age-appropriate, has an impact on them and that will create lasting memories, at the same time making things fun and light. Children’s books can do just that – they can be so simple and yet they can have such an impact.
5. What are your goals for all our little Muslims and their world of children’s books?So through Read Little Muslims, I hope to keep searching for and finding great books to Muslim kids, encourage people to consider writing books if they feel they have a story to tell, and support those who do. On readlittlemuslims.com we also have some free resources which people can download and use for their children, and we hope to keep building that up. Through guest writers, bloggers and author interviews, we also hope that Read Little Muslims becomes a place that people can go to find behind-the-scenes info about books, seek out the latest books for kids and share any great resources they may come across and help us to spread the word. Insha Allah, I also hope to have a 2nd book in the Faatimah and Ahmed series completed soon too!