Link

Seven useful pointers for aspiring illustrators out there: http://bit.ly/1anbCoU

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“Snow White: An Islamic Tale” Review and Giveaway!

Check out this review of Snow White: An Islamic Tale.

wood turtle

photo 2 (28)Terrified screams rip through a dark forest. Ghostly eyes leer and skeletal branches attack an innocent girl as she runs from a close encounter with death — and she soon falls to the ground sobbing. Later, when several strange “little men” offer her refuge in exchange for cooking and cleaning services, a twisted old woman tricks her into eating poison and she enters a death-like state. In revenge, the men chase the old woman off a cliff and hold a wake for the poor girl. While they mourn her, a charming, handsome, prince wakes her with a kiss and she happily falls into his arms.

It’s not the Snow White I remember from my childhood, so I was pretty shocked when watching it again in preparation for this post. But then again, the only things I really remember from Disney’s 1937 movie version were the seven dwarves happily singing “Heigh-ho,” Dopey’s…

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REFLECTIONS FROM THE CREATOR OF HILMY

Written by Rae Norridge
Originally posed on http://www.kubepublishing.com

Every year brings new challenges to us all, and every year we are that bit older. I ask myself, ‘Am I that bit wiser?’

I am in the fortunate position to travel and experience this beautiful world we live in. As an artist, my eyes are constantly seeking new colours, textures and subjects to paint. As an author, my mind searches for new tales to tell, drawing inspiration from the rich diversity nature has to offer. Sitting at a waterhole, with only the sound of the grass rustling in the wind and the constant chatter of the birds is an enriching experience for me. It gives me time to reflect on life.

Very often, in this busy world, we forget the simple rules and principles that make our lives, and the lives of our friends and families, more tolerant and peaceful.

I have written the Hilmy the Hippo series for young children, but I fervently hope that some adults can learn from Hilmy’s adventures too. For those who have not read the series, Hilmy is the central character in each book, and in each adventure that Hilmy undertakes, we learn a lesson in life. Although these stories are simply told, the message is deeply meaningful. I believe we all have a little bit of Hilmy in us. He reminds us of our own human frailties.

We live in a ‘quick fix’ world, the world of the remote control, the egotistical world of ‘this is me’ social network sites, the deceitful world of photo-shopping, the tragic world or cyber-bullying, and so the list goes on. We all need time to reflect on nature, to learn how to take time out from the pressures of the cyber world. Nature, in it’s simplicity, can give us the answers to the complexities of life.

A rhino is killed every nine-and-a-half hours in Africa. Elephants are poached for the greedy desire for ivory. Habitats are destroyed for logging, housing and industry. Should we continue this destruction of our beautiful planet?

We need, as parents and as adults, to take time to reflect on nature and to teach our children the importance of conserving the diminishing world of our natural environment.

In the Hilmy the Hippo series, I have tried to bring to life the characters and the habitat in which they live. I hope that these stories sew the seeds of caring for our environment, protecting and not exploiting endangered creatures like Hilmy and his friends.

Our children are growing up in a challenging world. We, as parents, need to guide them along the path to being caring and happy adults, and to share this beautiful planet with all Allah’s creatures.

Link

New Kube Publishing Site

It is with great delight that we have a new website for our readers to discover our books. Most of the children’s books include some additional images of the internal pages, so if there have been books you were interested in seeing you can now take a look at them.

We welcome any feedback, especially as we continue to fix any errors.

Kuthum Burgess (1964–2013): Obituary

Kube Publishing is sad to announce the death of Sister Kulthum Burgess, a talented artist who worked as one of our freelance illustrators.

Kulthum was born Giovanna De Bianchi in Rome in 1964 and embraced Islam in 1987, along with her husband Ahmed Ridwan Burgess. Together they have been living in the UK for the past 20 years.

Kulthum Burgess was a gifted artist. Her career as an artist included work on school murals, producing decorative Islamic tiling and the illustration of children’s books. The first work she undertook for Kube was A School Girl’s Hero by Umm Aamina. This was a challenging project as the book was about the character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She also later worked on other titles for Kube: Hannah and her Grandma, The Colour Blind Boy, Our Grandma, Our Granddad, The Lost Ring, and Husna and the Eid Party.

A signature feature of Sister Kulthum’s work was her ability to create recognisable individuals in an accurate and realistic manner, which helped to transform the stories that she illustrated. To do this she used real life models and asked them to pose for photographs, scene by scene, before she would begin her illustrative work. She was committed to depicting people from diverse backgrounds in her artwork. Her work as an illustrator came to be appreciated by a global readership.

Sister Kulthum was sadly diagnosed with cancer some time ago and as a result could not take on any more work illustrating children’s books. We pray Allah grants her the highest rank in Paradise, al-Firdous. Sister Kulthum leaves behind her husband, Ahmed Rizwan, her four sons, Mansoor , Mahmood, Omar and Adam, and her six grandchildren; may Allah grant them all patience and fortitude.

(Written by Anwar Cara on behalf of Kube Publishing)

 Our Grandad Hannah and her GrandmaOur Grandma The Colour Blind Boy School Girl's Hero Husna and the Eid Party

Review of When Wings Expand

Book Review: When Wings Expand

Wings-web

by Atiya Hasan. Taken from browngirlmagazine.com

It’s funny how our brains can make something so simple
seem so big and scary.

As I ran my hand over the cover of When Wings Expand, before I was about to lose myself in the story between the pages, I mentally prepared myself to find the all the probably mistakes. I’m sure they’ll misrepresent Islam, I said to myself, like they always do. Or, I bet there’s tons of cultural influences that have nothing to do with Islam.

Not only was I pleasantly surprised, but surprisingly enough, the book had me weeping as I read its final pages. The book is about Nur, a young, Muslim girl dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. The book is a diary that is a gift from her mother to help her cope with the difficult circumstances. I’m neither Turkish nor Canadian and I’ve never had to deal with any close relatives being gravely ill. Yet, there were many things I learned about myself as I read this book; strength in the face of hopelessness, the importance of a family’s love and support, and probably the most important, faith.

As pure as Nur’s character, so is the representation of Islam in the book. Mehded Maryam Sinclair, the author, is very well versed in the distinction between cultural practices and those that are the property of Islamic teachings. The representation is basic enough that it is a warm welcome for those that may not be as knowledgeable about the topic.

Though this book was meant for a younger age group, I thoroughly enjoyed each moment spent in its world. The story of Nur’s loss is one that is deeply entrenched in faith. It is a guiding light for those that lose their faith when faced with adversities. Sinclair is adept at making the sorrow real but not painful. She leads the readers down a path of beautiful moments on a journey to acceptance and, ultimately, peace.

Interview with Hijab Boutique author, Michelle Khan

The interview below was originally posted on http://woodturtle.wordpress.com/

Why did you want to write a book about hijab?

I think hijab is beautiful. The styles. The fabrics. The religious concept behind it. I personally am not a hijabi, but I know women who do adhere. This story idea blossomed when my Bangladeshi-Canadian family doctor decided to become a hijabi as an adult. I wanted to explain this process of change through the eyes of a child. I wanted to teach the values of Islam surrounding hijab. So I did my research, and learned.

I also used my main character, Farah, to point out the frustrations some kids face as a result of their mother’s devotion to hijab. For instance, Farah labels her mother “b-o-r-i-ng” in respect to how glamorous the other students’ mothers appear at Miss Peabody’s Academy. Soon enough, both Farah and readers learn how interesting Mrs. Khan actually is. Her life experiences speak for themselves.

Do you see yourself as a feminist/womanist? And if so, how do you describe your feminism/womanism?

I believe in the power of women. I believe in equal rights. I believe in freedom of choice. In other words, I am a FEMINIST!!! However, you won’t find me burning my bra under the false stereotypical image of what it (cough) means to be a feminist.

I think as a feminist it’s really, really important not to judge other women. We shouldn’t become enemies within ourselves. For instance, Farah Khan (the main character in my book) learns via her mother that some people are quick to judge hijabis by rationalizing that Muslim females are “oppressed” women. Farah now knows better than that. In actuality, many feminists believe hijabis are the ultimate feminists because they refuse to be seen as sex objects. Neat concept, huh?

On the flipside, I’ve learned a lot about European culture through my wonderful fiancée, Alan. In many of our conversations, he’s remarked how some women from his origins (Italy) feel the freedom and choice to reveal their bodies is a form of feminism. It’s ironic how two opposing sides of the same coin fit under one umbrella of “feminism.”

The bottom line is: We’re not here to judge. Rather, as women we should feel compassion for one another. Our world would be much better that way.

What is your religious background and do you consider yourself to be religious now?

I don’t think my religion should be a promotional tool. I don’t want people to purchase my book based on the fact that I am Muslim or not. I want people to take an interest in the “The Hijab Boutique” because they want to read a good story.

Yes, I do believe in a Higher Power. When I pray, I do it with passion. It comes from my heart. Insomuch, I’ve burst into tears with emotion at times. Read: The concept of religion fascinates me. Dearly. In fact, I took religion courses while studying at University of Toronto. Someone once asked: “Why do you want to study such a silly topic?” At the time, I was dumbfounded. My answer today: “I don’t regret it one bit.” I only believe this knowledge has added dimension to my character.

Do you have any children? If so, how have they influenced your writing?

No, I don’t have any little ones yet. I’m not sure if I ever will. I can’t seem to make up my mind! However, like religion, children fascinate me. I’m always curious to know how their thoughts operate. I love how they absorb the world around them. I admire their energy. I can’t get enough of their carefree attitude. Is it any surprise that I write for
kids? (Insert laugh.) You’ll often find me gabbing or playing with some special kiddos in my life. We interact like friends. I guess I have that luxury since I don’t have to enforce rules!

In any case, I’m often told that I’m a “big kid at heart.” Being in touch with youthful innocence helps me tune into writing children’s literature. While penning “The Hijab Boutique,” I made it a point to think like Farah all the time. In the same way, an actor does to make a screenplay come to life. This is just my way of nitpicking details out of my characters.

What made you decide to write an Islamic children’s book?

This story came to me very naturally. Scene after scene, played in my head like a machine. Islam is a very beautiful, rich religion. Why wouldn’t I want to write about it?

Kube 2013 Children’s Catalogue

The latest Kube catalogue of children’s books is available to peruse at your pleasure.

Inside you will find sequels to three popular series we recently started: ‘Islamic Fairy Tales’, ‘Muslims in the Modern World’ and ‘A Concise Life’. There is also our latest title for teenage readers, which will be out in a month!