Category Archives: Art

2 New Books (!!) and 5 Fun Things…

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Today is Z’s last day of first grade. I can’t believe she will be a second grader, the grade I used to teach.

It doesn’t seem like yesterday in which I packed up my crayon-filled second grade classroom and had a newborn in the sweltering June summer. It seems ages ago. To be precise 7 years ago! For me, those newborn baby days were long and slow, tiring and tedious. But to have that slow time was a gift in which I could find pockets of peace.

Once Z transformed into a running toddler and child, that was when time caught up with Z and then A and started to run too.

Ramadan for Muslims starts this Saturday. It’s nice to see my book Lailah’s Lunchbox pop up on people’s radars again and to see it displayed proudly for Ramadan.

I love seeing how creative people get with their displays. If you do use my book in a Ramadan display, please send me a picture. Sometimes while I sit on a computer cranking out words on a plain old Microsoft Word document, it can be hard to see my words as a book.

Speaking of books, I am excited to say that I should have two picture books coming out in a couple of years I believe!

Amira’s Picture Day (Holiday House) for Spring 2019

Ramadan is over and Amira can’t wait to celebrate Eid. Spotting the new moon, she celebrates because Eid is tomorrow and she gets to miss school to go to the mosque for the Eid prayer and brunch.  But then she realizes that tomorrow is Picture Day at school. How will her class remember her if she’s not in the class picture? What will Amira do?

         2. Let Me Show You The Way (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) TBD

The main character often happily volunteers to help a fellow classmate who needs a little extra assistance in school. It is only when she gets picked on by two popular students for helping him, she decides to distance herself from the fellow classmate to fit in more with her popular classmates. Later, she feels regret for her actions, but it is too late. Now, she decides to take matters into her own hands…

I will share more about these two projects soon. A big thank you to those who helped me thus far with these stories, editing, critiquing, printing, submitting! The publishing industry is quite a prooooooooooooooocesssssssss. And a long one at that! And an additional thank you to all of you who have read Lailah’s Lunchbox and supported me. I hope you all will like these two picture books as well.

I hope for all those of you who will be celebrating Ramadan that it is a beautiful and peaceful month full of growth, renewal, and that you find time to enjoy the slow moments. Meanwhile…

Five Fun Things:

  1. a heartwarming Middle Grade book I read recently by Lisa Graff with a strong, emotional male character’s voice:

“My dad’s face, you should’ve seen it. It went from normal to chili-pepper red in seconds. He was angry. [. . .] The fire, it was all the way to the tips of my fingernails. Digging down to the bottoms of my heels.”

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2. A teacher’s blog post I liked about my book.

“Lailah’s Lunchbox is a fantastic story based on Reem Faruqi’s own life experience moving to the United States and explaining what Ramadan is to classmates and friends in Peachtree City, Georgia. This story captures many different and important social issues, including moving somewhere new and different religions. This story emphasizes the humanity of the children and their experiences and promotes understanding and empathy of others.”

3. A beautiful Ramadan Read Drummer Girl   by Hiba Masood and illustrated by Najiyah Maxfield about a spunky female character Najma and the tender relationship she and her father share during Ramadan. I love how author Hiba Masood loosely based this story on a true one of a female drummer girl. The imagery, language, and pictures are gorgeous. I am a fan of Hiba (Drama Mama)’s words and this book showcases beautiful language. I have been saving this story for Z and A to read during Ramadan so I know they will savor it this Ramadan.

“Najma held her breath. Would he be angry? Would he say she was being foolish? No woman had ever been a musaharati in her neighborhood…”

4. A fun activity to do. Envelope decorating with nail polish. It kept Z and A busy for a while…

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5. the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta will be doing a Ramadan puppet show at the Children’s Museum on June 24th for your children. Check our newsletter here for more details. (scroll to bottom!)

Have a Blessed Ramadan and Beautiful Summer!

Regina’s Family Photoshoot

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“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart,” – Winnie the Pooh

Regina’s family session was my last fall session. Their little baby Zayna is 6 months and this was her first photoshoot. Regina said she missed out on newborn images at the hospital, so I was honored to take their baby’s first professional photos! Regina was looking for pictures of Mom and Dad interacting with baby, pictures that would show their love for Zayna. When I see these images, I can see their faces and expressions soften toward her and their smiles grow; I hope you can see it too.

Their session was cut shorter when their little one started to cry. I’ve noticed sessions of six-month-olds tend to end quickly since the babies are vocal through their cries about what they need and their moms are able to read their signs.

Zayna hadn’t given me many smiles, but when her parents started to play with her under a tree, lifting her gently into the air, she was all smiles so was glad I managed to capture those images!

Below are a few images of them enjoying autumn at Tanyard Creek Park.

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Eggs to Eggs, Smiles to Smiles…

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This summer I haven’t strung my words together just so. Rather than write, I peruse blogs of mothers who have triple the number of children I have, whose homes are built on meadowy farm lands, and who collect warm eggs from hens.

I click and browse, browse and scroll and admire and bask in the warmth of their images, the smiles of their children, and their golden light at sunset.

I eventually exit out of the window, put down the screen, drive to the grocery store, and buy cold eggs from Kroger.

I do the grocery shopping mostly lighthearted because it is summer and I have nowhere to rush. Smiles emerge from my children when they choose the trolley with the plastic pink car or if they get a free balloon at the counter. Eggs to eggs. Smiles to smiles.

This summer has been good because it has been slow and it has been slow because it has been good. I love the feeling of waking up in the morning lazily not having to rush somewhere, not having to be somewhere at 8 am, not have to be on-the-go is deliciously free.

I love not having to bark back-to-school orders  Hurry Up, Brush Your Teeth, Go sit in the car, orders peppered with the occasional questions Do you have your book bag? Where are your shoes?

 

I would love to soak up the sun this last week before school starts, but Atlanta’s weather promises rain everyday. Not to worry. Rain promises blessings. Blessings promise good.

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pockets of rain on the left and right!

I only hope that when the school year begins that I can still create space and patience and time to do the things that sometimes only the season of summer promises. Late nights for children with cup fulls of Ovaltine, later nights for their parents and still Ovaltine. Visits to an aunt’s home with lake swims and hammock rests. Swim lessons for the girls in which a big sister comforts a small sister and her fear of water. This is Summer.

This is what Summer has promised us so far…

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Flower shopping at the farmer’s market

 

IMG_6768Under-the-Apple-Tree Reads with Cousins

IMG_6775Apple Trees and Golden Sunsets

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IMG_6756Hammock Snuggles and Comfort Children Stories!

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Me on the rowboat!

IMG_6849Pure Gold

IMG_6857View from Boat

IMG_6848A flustered ant on the boat!

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Grassy Toes
IMG_6527The Quest for the Perfect Lily Pad

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Surprise Popsicles from my aunt

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Summer Food

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5 year olds transformed into Helfpul Bag Pulling 6 year olds

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Comforting Hugs given to little sisters scared of the water!

Hoping that all the seasons to come will be savored as much as this one and that we each savor our time wisely!

“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” – Prophet Muhammad

12 Beautiful Things

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12 Beautiful Things I’ve Enjoyed:

  1. Video: Japanese high schoolers seeing a chick hatch outside its egg. Mind boggling!

  2. Do you dream of having kids one day? Touching article

  3. Ramadan series I’ve been enjoying – videos, or daily lectures here.

  4. Two brand new Ramadan picture books I want to check out: Drummer Girl and Owl & Cat: Ramadan Is…

  5. They’ve left me. Is this what an empty nest feels like?

  6. Can’t wait to read this memoir of Muhammad Ali (already put it on hold at my library!)

  7. Beautiful middle grade novel I loved

  8. Love this Blog lately for everything

  9. Heartwarming children’s book classic.

  10. never knew he had so many beautiful quotes; hence why I’m checking out #6 – article: 12 Times Muhammad Ali Showed Us The Incredible Power Of His Faith

  11. This hair brush helped me attempt to get Z to school on time

  12. I like this nail polish color in Sea Shell

Khaliah and baby Aubrey’s Photosession!

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Living in Atlanta and being a photographer has its challenges in spring, mainly the possibility of rainy showers! I was lucky in that the Saturday I took these images, the day proved to be sunny and cloudy and with a cool breeze whereas every day surrounding it was quite stormy!

Aubrey was 4 weeks old and Khaliah, a first-time mom, had a radiant smile! Grandma, Khaliah, and Aubrey had a peaceful session outside. I believe newborns really enjoy the outdoors and are quite soothed by the sounds of the breeze, birds, and they love the fresh air!

Aubrey’s grandmother was quick to point out Aubrey’s perfect swirl of hair on his head, and once I noticed it, it was so mesmerizing in real life and on camera!

My favorite photos are those of parents and grandparents with the baby as you can really see the love they have for their little one.

Enjoy!

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“Happiness is a baby holding your finger with his whole hand,” – Unknown

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Aubrey’s perfect swirl of hair!

IMG_4969-2.jpgIMG_5010-2IMG_5019-2IMG_5031-3IMG_5032-5IMG_5049-4“A house needs a grandma in it!” ~ Louisa May AlcottIMG_5070-5IMG_5103-6

“A baby is sunshine and moonbeams and more brightening your world as never before.”‘
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Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun…

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Right as the sun starts to swirl down, down, down away from the blue of the sky, everything seems less bright. The dishes suddenly start to loom closer to my line of vision and seem dirtier. The things on the floor seem a little more scattier here and there. The crumbs a little more crumbier. At moments like these, it is easy to wonder, Where am I? 

Under my ‘About Me’ in my Facebook profile, I had written sometime ago, I am like a plant. I crave sunlight.

Well, I must really crave sunlight because at a recent doctor check-up, it was noted that I was pretty deficient in Vitamin D. You can get Vitamin D from … the sun! (And in the form of Vitamin D pills which I now take.)

When the sun is up and bright and happy, it is easy to feel up too. When the sun is down, it is easy to feel down again. There’s something about sunlight streaming through the windows that makes me feel most at peace and productive. At certain times of the day, I gravitate to the room that has the most sunlight. In the morning when the kitchen is dark, I love the living room.

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In the afternoon when the kitchen is bright and airy, the kitchen.

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no filter with this photo! the sunlight was that powerful and I love how it overshadows the dishes. Chores-be-gone!

On grey bleak days, it can sometimes be a struggle for me to get stuff done. With spring peeking in, it is as if a new chapter of Life has turned and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.

Enjoying….

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Eric Carle’s recent work from his Facebook page titled, “Spring is in the air!” Seeing his beautiful work makes me happy. It makes me want to read every one of his books again. If I was Eric Carle, I would paint a wall of my house like this.

 

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Miniature helpers helping with rainbow utensils…

 

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Matching fingers and toes…

 

Father Daughter Lake Time…

 

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Sisters Shadow Silhouette Hugs Given While Admiring Sunsets…

 

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Lailah’s Lunchbox with an ALA Notable Seal!

 

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Fan Mail from a 4th grade class! I hope they write back again!

 

‘A’ loves to doodle and will grab my favorite pen and sit and doodle for quite some time. I sent my uncle her work on a whim as he is an artist of Zakaria Ink and he sent me back the work on the right! I love how he took a simple doodle and made it a work of art!

 

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Love A’s swirls and interesting shapes!

Also enjoying this beautiful book from the library…My Name is Yoon

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Happy Almost Spring (official date is March 20th)!

 

 

The Calm Before The Storm…

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With schools closing early and things being cancelled all around me, I love the peace that comes before the storm. I love seeing the world blanketed in white looking all fresh and new. I don’t know if it will actually snow, but hoping for snow. When I used to live in Abu Dhabi, I would be mesmerized by the rare rain falling and the way drops would gather forming scant puddles here and there. In Atlanta, I am spoiled. Rain is a common thing and I no longer am as mesmerized by the constant fall of rain. However, when it snows in Atlanta, I am newly mesmerized all over.

Enjoying:

  • a cancelled gymnastics class became a time to bake brownies and facetime my grandmother in Pakistan
  • an early pick up at school became more playtime for A&Z and a time to blog
  • the birds! The birds have been feasting today at my bird feeder which makes me wonder if they are stocking up on food before the storm comes, or simply extra friendly today.photo 4 (12)
  • Instagram: In the past, I used instagram, but didn’t want to waste time by allowing followers or following people. Recently though I was told, “Isn’t instagram made for people who take photos like you?” so I now have an account that I follow people with and love the inspiration I see on there. Facebook for me is sometimes overwhelming, but Instagram is a nice way to see fellow bloggers work in a quick scroll. My cousin Ahmed or karachichaiwalla has the most amazing Pakistan photos – you can follow him here if you are an instagrammer or simply click and look through his images. Here’s a screenshot photo below!
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  • yarn again. I really want to crochet something warm in the next couple of days!
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    My computer is acting up so can’t delete the extra crochet photo. Ignore!

  • Love the confidence of 5 year olds! When we practiced for the spelling bee, Z kept spelling DOG as D-O-O-G and then as G-O-D! and WET as W-U-T and the list goes on! But she still thought she would win the spelling bee. I heard about a basketball player holding a basket ball asking kindergartners if they could throw a 3 point shot and they all raised their hands saying, “I can!” Such is the spirit of a 5 year old.

    Even with all her mistakes, Z said she wanted to win and tie the spelling bee with her cousin. She came back from school misspelling the first word she was given, Hand; she spelled it with an E. Her cousin misspelled the word ‘cow’! But she was still happy!

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    I also love knowing what words people love. Z loves spelling the word M-U-S-T and the sound of it. I love the sound of the word ‘tapioca.’ It just sounds so lovely.

     Target with ‘A’ below!

A new gallery  wall! My uncle Zia Zakaria’s painting is the first orange calligraphy one. You can look him up at Zakaria Ink here. I love his work.

Cozy Reading Time! I Love the blog A Beautiful Mess and was inspired by their book above. I also just read The Nesting Place book about having an imperfect home and LOVED it.

  1. Paint, 2. Cut paintings into strips, 3. Loop the paintings together to make a bedroom banner!
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Jeni’s Icecream – lavendar flavor Z loves!