From the same illustrator as the wonderful book UNDER MY HIJAB, newly released book MUSLIM GIRLS RISE is a must to add to your bookshelves. Below Author Saira Mir shares her insight that went into bringing a book to life on Soaring ’20s Picture Books.

The term “book birthday” was new to me as a debut author, but it perfectly captures the emotions and effort that went into bringing a book to life.

An advance reading at the annual Islamic Society of North America conference.

Photo Credit: Saira Mir (An advance reading at the annual Islamic Society of North America conference.)

Three years ago, my little Muslim girl was venturing off to kindergarten and I worried about her self image. I decided that instead of worrying, I would build her confidence. I shared stories of my personal role models — authors, scientists, activists and athletes. My daughter was captivated by their stories. The idea for MUSLIM GIRLS RISE was born.

I invested months into research, compilation, fact-checking, and outreach. I was honoring my personal heroes and the writing process felt fluid.

Relishing my first copy of MUSLIM GIRLS RISE.

Photo Credit: Saira Mir (Relishing her first copy of MUSLIM GIRLS RISE.)

Finding an agent was not so fluid. It was my first taste of rejection. Of the agents who responded to my query, they didn’t understand the concept or why the topic was important. I pressed on. Within a month I found my dream agent, Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch. She shared my vision, fell in love with the manuscript and believed in its need. I was floored.

Saba helped polish the manuscript and tackle a proposal. Writing a proposal felt more intense than the writing the actual book. Providing evidence as to why a book that is so personal to you should exist is heavy.

With data supporting gender bias developing early as kindergarten and increasing Islamophobia, we were prepared to present MUSLIM GIRLS RISE to publishers. Within weeks, which felt like an eternity, I received two offers. This was the marvelous moment where hard work and dreams intersected.

Read on about how MUSLIM GIRLS RISE came to be and enter the book giveaway on Soaring ’20s Picture Books.

Connect on Twitter: Illustrator Aaliya Jaleel | Publisher Simon and Schuster

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