Written by Rae Norridge
Originally posed on

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.


Book Review: Snow White An Islamic Tale

By Kirkus Reviews (paywall)


In this version, the heroine is pious as well as pretty.

Here the setting is Anatolia (in Turkey), which looks similar to a European landscape. Snow White is not a princess, but she still has a jealous stepmother who sends a huntsman to kill her. Seven female dwarfs, all kind and religious, find the girl on their doorstep after the huntsman refuses to do the evil deed. It may sound more or less like the usual story, but the poisoned apple becomes poisoned dates, the fruit that traditionally breaks the Ramadan fast. The poisoned fruit is not dislodged from the girl’s throat when servants stumble, carrying her glass coffin to the prince’s palace (as in Grimm). Nor does the prince kiss Snow White (as in Disney). Here, the prince’s mother and a doctor awaken her with medicine and prayer. The gruesome Grimm ending changes, as it does in many children’s versions, though with a twist: Snow White grants mercy to her evil stepmother and recites a verse from the Quran. Such verses are quoted throughout the text, with references provided. The full-color watercolors, with some Anatolian details in clothing and household goods, are attractive, but the faces are sometimes awkward. Snow White (not quite beautiful) and the stepmother don’t always look the same on different pages.

Created for religious Muslim children, this may be of interest to institutions or families seeking such materials. (glossary) (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-9)

RE Today reviews Dr Hany El Banna book

Dear readers,

We are proud and pleased to be able to share a review by RE Today of Suma Din’s book Dr Hany El Banna: A Servant to the World’s Poorest People. We knew it was a little gem of a book that set out to do something new and important but it is always nice to know other people agree with us, especially those we hope will use it most: teachers.

  • This excellent well-written book gives a contemporary, positive example of Islam in action. [The book] can be read by students 12 upwards … in the RE, Geography or Citizenship curriculum.
  • The book supports several areas of study at examination level such as conflict resolution, war, poverty and marriage but is also useful for younger students’ study of beliefs in action, justice and Islam in general.
  • … an inspiring, interesting and engaging book which fills a gap, providing an example of a contemporary Muslim acting out his beliefs in the world today. It is excellent value for money and I expect to see this in school libraries and RE classrooms very soon.

Reprinted with the kind permission of RE Today. 

Free resources to help integrate this book into the national curriculum are also available

Copies are available from most good online retailers, including the Kube website 

Muslim All-Stars author Khaleel Muhammad speaks about his upcoming book

Greetings of peace,

Khaleel Muhammad has taken the time to talk about his upcoming book in a new video. With some examples of the development of illustrations from sketches to final line drawings too, this is worth a watch.

Khaleel Muhammad – singer, songwriter, storyteller… AND author!

Khaleel Muhammad has written a book for Kube Publishing called Muslim All-Stars: Helping the Polonskys. Due to publish in March 2012 his first book tells the story of an exciting new group of teenagers: Leila, Imran, Che Amran, Sumaya and Adam. Between them they want to help their local community, starting with Mr Polonsky’s house.

Don’t miss this exciting new book from Kube.


Recommended readers 9+



Available from


‘Free Resources’ now available

We have added a ‘Free Resources’ tab to this blog to promote and share the work our authors are doing to compliment their books. So far we have material to support Dr Hany A Servant to the World’s Poorest People and The Victory Boys.

Let us know how you are using the resources, and to flag up any books you want us to support.

Promoting Muslim Role-Models


Our very own author Suma Din has been teaming up with Dr Hany to promote Muslim role-models in schools since the release of her book ‘Dr Hany: A Servant to the World’s Poorest Peole’. These workshops focus on introducing the values, character and personality of such people as Dr Hany, who have made a massive contribution to their field, and trying to leave the students with the example of a role-model that they can look up to, and relate to.

Here are two pictures from a recent workshop at a Muslim faith school in Birmnigham:

The biography of Dr Hany, by Suma Din, is available from the Kube Publishing website for £5.99.

Farah Morley, author of ‘The Spider and the Doves’, talks about her book

Dear readers, Salaams and hello!

Farah Morley, the author and illustrator of an upcoming release The Spider and the Doves, has given us an exclusive account of why she wanted to work on this story and how she settled on her unique artistic style for the book below:

“It is a strange thing to admit, but my book started as a puppet show! My daughter was attending a Steiner kindergarten and I was invited to tell a story pertaining to Islam. Continue reading