Khanversations

Rukhsana’s thoughts on her journey of life, writing and sometimes—when she dares—a bit of politics.
Options:

Things have calmed down somewhat with regards to the infamous comments of Daniel Handler during the National Book Award ceremonies where he pointed out that Jacqueline Woodson was allergic to watermelon, ‘make of that what you will’.

Jacqueline Woodson then posted a very interesting open letter in the New York Times talking about how hurtful the comment had been, but at the end of it, honestly I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Mr. Handler.

We all say stupid things.

I’ve met loads of stupid ‘brown’ people, stupid ‘yellow’ people, stupid ‘black’ people and stupid ‘white’ people.

There really is no monopoly of race when it comes down to stupidity!

And I think white people are in a particularly difficult position because historically, and even presently, they’re often in a position of privilege and many of the more conscientious ones completely understand that.

Perhaps they want to show how ‘egalitarian’ they are, and would like to be able to include some good natured ribbing of their ethnic minority friends in the same way that they’d rib their white friends, often without thinking of what’s coming out of their mouths.

And everyone knows humor can be hit or miss.

Rene Saldana Jr. writes an excellent post about what occurred recently here: http://latinosinkidlit.com/2014/12/18/guest-post-a-bucket-load-of-talk-no-action-a-bucket-load-of-nothing/

And like he says, I’d be much less willing to forgive the Republican Elizabeth Lauten for her stupid remarks about Obama’s daughters.

Like Mr. Saldana says, the GOP have a track record, and I really believe that they are highly disingenuous when it comes to reaching out to minorities and championing their rights.

But…

I do think both Lauten and Handler should be really forgiven, and maybe it’s because of my own history of saying stupid things. Showing mercy in this kind of situation can be much more effective than anything else.

I feel very strongly about this because of a moment of mercy in my life, that was a real turning point for me.

I went to Guyana, South America, for three weeks and I stayed with my husband’s family. They lived in a quaint little house, very neat and clean but full of bugs.

Being a tropical developing country I found the taps and washroom facilities rudimentary and yes, uncivilized. But it was the lizards and frogs on the walls of the inside of the house, flicking their tongues at flies and mosquitoes that were the most alarming.

The customs and mannerisms of the local people were also very rudimentary and unusual to me, and after two and a half weeks, I was really homesick and singing the praises of my beloved Canada to the youngest of my brother in laws, while we sat on the veranda, where the sea breeze kept the mosquitoes somewhat at bay.

I was only about twenty-one and it was the first time I’d ever left the continental North America, but still that’s no excuse for my behavior.

I was telling my brother in law (a boy about twelve) all about how wonderful Canada and Canadians really were. And he was listening avidly.

“Things are so modern there!”

“Really?” he said.

“Oh yes! And the people are so civilized!”

“Really?”

“Oh yes! And smart! They’re so smart!”

“Really?”

“Oh yes! And I’m so smart!”

“You are?”

“Oh yes! In fact…I’m smarter than everyone in this house!”

Even as the words came tumbling out, I realized how stupid they sounded. And there was a moment of stunned silence. The veranda jutted out, like a balcony of sorts, and behind us were the curtained windows of the living room, just a few feet away, and of course the windows were open to let in the breeze.

You couldn’t see inside. But I heard my father in law’s voice very distinctly as he calmly said to my brother in law, “Get in here.”

That was all.

He’d obviously heard my stupid remark, but he made no other reference to them.

Even when I went downstairs.

Even when we all sat down to dinner.

My mother in law had always been such a friendly chatty type, but she said little, and her little sideways glances told me she knew what I’d done.

I waited to be scolded.

I waited for the next day and the next day after that for them to confront me with the magnitude of my stupidity, so I could apologize, but they never did.

Probably because I was a guest in their house.

And their silence was a much more painful punishment than any scolding could have been.

I didn’t know what to do.

I’d never experienced this type of excruciating kindness.

And it occurred to me that I could just pretend the whole thing had never happened.

But it was eating me up inside, and on the way to the airport, I decided I had to say something!

When my mother in law was hugging me, just as I was about to board the plane, I said, with tears in my eyes, “I’m really sorry.”

Her face changed. And she smiled, and it was like the sun had come out. And the relief made my knees wobble.

And then I turned to my father in law and said, “I’m really really sorry. Can you forgive me?”

And his face too, broke out into a grin. “It’s okay.”

And that was that.

In all the years since, they have never reminded me of it or thrown that incident in my face.

I felt thoroughly humbled and I have never thought myself better than them in any way. In fact, for the last thirty-five years of my married life, I’ve been doing everything I can to make it up to them.

That’s what mercy can do.

Whether or not Lauten was sincere, (I really do believe Handler was) they should both be forgiven in the hopes that mercy can lead us forward, and we can all get a little closer and a little more united despite our various cultures and backgrounds.

Hmm.

In light of that mini-speech I gave at the NCTE, I’m starting to think, hey, what’s so wrong with being on the porch?

I’m feeling a little disillusioned with pop culture.

Last night I was watching Toy Story 3. It’s not the first time I watched it. It’s the third time, and yeah, there are some funny bits, but I really don’t get the ‘magnificence’ of it.

I actually think the first one is the best.

I tried really hard to tear up, like I felt like I was supposed to, at the end, and yeah, a little tear fell but nothing like normal.

I cry easily!

And yet somehow the waterworks were wanting in this one, and I was left feeling kind of puzzled.

Maybe it’s just more of a ‘boy’s movie’.

And maybe it didn’t help that I’d watched a gem like Steven Spielberg’s Amistad just before that.

I don’t know if it was the after effects of all the recent injustices towards black people. The case in Ferguson and Eric Garner’s where both cops who acted recklessly and killed unarmed black men, got off scott free, but there was something very satisfying about the opening mutiny scene in Amistad!

It’s gory and it probably made a lot of white audiences uneasy, seeing black slaves revolt like that! But I don’t know, I felt the crew deserved it!

Honestly we should turn away from the claptrap of most Hollywood movies!

Blech!

It’s hypocrisy!

What I’m finding more and more is that even while I seem to be chasing certain people’s approval, looking inward on that warm cabin, other people are stepping forward and asking for my services.

Who needs that cabin???

Go where the opportunity arises!

And even while the Canadian establishment doesn’t seem to notice my work, the sting of their not noticing has gotten less and less.

I mean, really who cares?

It’s all about the work!

Creating better and better stories! Helping more and more kids, especially immigrant kids, with their language skills through the workshops I gave as Artist in Library.

I really really love children!

Yesterday when I was doing the Public Speaking workshop for the 5-12 year olds at Fairview Library, this little five year old girl, Serena (I think she’s Phillipino, so cute!!!!) lay down on the chairs while one of the other kids started telling his story, and put her head in my lap. And I patted her back and she smiled up at me! So cute!

And I just thought, “Awww!”

And oh how they begged for me to tell Big Red Lollipop, chanting, chanting, till I had to explain to them that this was a workshop where they were supposed to learn to tell, not me! And the way I quieted them down was to tell them, quite honestly, that if there was time at the end, yes, I’d tell it.

Spoke to the branch manager and the librarian who was acting as liaison and they both said how much they’d loved working with me! I’d done 63 programs at the library in the course of about four months! More than any of the other Artists in library  and she asked me if I always worked this hard, and I said, “Yeah. Actually I do.”

Because I always try to give my hosts more than they bargained for.

I think it’s the immigrant in me.

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it interesting that such an odd word ‘pedagogy’ deals with the teaching of stuff to kids?

It’s funny how lately I’ve been pondering the physical impact of words and finding onomatopoeia in all kinds of words!

Like ‘pondering’ for instance, doesn’t it sound like you’re doing just that, pondering, thinking, mulling something over?

And same with the word pedagogical, with it’s ‘d’ sound and hard ‘g’ followed by a soft ‘g’ sounds and then hard ‘c’, doesn’t it sound like it implies putting barriers up, something hard and methodical (ah, there’s another great one!) and difficult.

Pedagogical.

Ew!

And yet if you’re a children’s author you better be familiar with the pedagogical method!

Because the biggest darn market for kids books remains, and probably will always remain, schools and pedagogical teachers.

You got to make friends with teachers, and most of the times it’s really easy, but then every once in a while you come across a person who really puts the ‘gog’ in pedagogical.

The kind of person who takes offense to the word ‘fart’ in your Fajr story and who asks you to, instead use the term ‘pass wind’ and when you do, because hey, they’re the vice principal, and you got to tailor your presentation to please them, the kids just look at you with a blank expression, so you say, “You know…pass wind.” And again they look at you, “Huh?” So finally you just say it, “Fart.” And that’s when the kids get it, and they laugh.

And something that was a natural story with universal themes becomes a bit more awkward because you couldn’t just use the normal term because some stupid educator thought it was too crude!

I really don’t think these kinds of people actually respect children.

I think they believe that children need to be manipulated away from their baser selves.

They look at education as a form of civilizing the little savages, not that different really from the mentality that gave us reservation schools.

Ugh!

I don’t think they realize that you can actually appeal to the natural curiosity in children, and the natural desire to be good.

I think a LOT of educators actually underestimate kids.

Maybe it’s because of this pedagogical game they play, where they try to present things in an ‘appropriate’ manner, and they don’t deal with reality.

It’s such an artificial construct.

It’s like when I was doing those workshops with those grade four and five kids and we were brainstorming, composing a found poem about what it was like to live in their little corner of Toronto, and some of the kids tossed out some stupid answers, and I just looked at them and said, “No! That won’t work!” and I asked the next kid.

The teacher told me afterwards that she was so surprised that the kids hadn’t curled up in a fetal position at my blunt rejection of their idea. She said how during their pedagogical training they’d been taught to never tell a kid their suggestion wasn’t valid. But to hedge, to hem and haw and move onto better ideas.

Baloney!

The kids knew right away that it was nothing personal. In fact the kid who offered the silly suggestion probably knew it wasn’t a good suggestion. And they knew when I rejected it, that I was just being honest. Not insulting!

Kids can figure out just the way a grown up is dealing with them and they adjust, accordingly.

I find it so easy to build a rapport with kids!

And I think maybe it’s because I try my best to be honest with them.

I tell them the truth, unvarnished, without any ‘gog’ in it.

And they can recognize it.

*sigh*

Sorry for the rant.

It’s just been a very trying week!

 

I just came back from attending a fabulous panel discussion that opened up the NCTE conference in Washing D.C.

I was on a panel being moderated by Rudine Bishop, and my fellow panelists were Christopher Myers, Matt de la Pena, and Mitali Perkins.

For the following two days all kinds of attendees came up to me and told me how much what I said below resonated with them, so I thought I’d sum it up, as best as I could remember (you know what it’s like when you’re on stage!) and transcribe it here for the benefit of those who couldn’t attend the conference.

So here it is:

When I was a young girl, growing up in a small Judeo-Christian town a friend of mine told me this joke. I don’t mean to offend anyone and in fact, I myself found it racist, but I tell it here to make a point.

Once there was a Catholic who lived in a farmhouse.

On a cold stormy night there came a knock at the door. It was a man.

He said, “Please sir, could I have shelter? I’m  half frozen and very hungry.”

The owner of the farmhouse said, “Are you Catholic?”

The man said, “Yes.”

“Oh! Come on in and rest  yourself there by the fire!”

A little while later another knock came at the door.

It was another man, half frozen, asking for shelter.

The owner said, “Are you Catholic?”

The man said, “Yes.”

“Oh! Come on in and rest yourself there by the fire!”

A little while later another knock came.

It was another man, half frozen.

“Are you Catholic?”

“No, I’m Protestant.”

The owner said, “Oh. Well there’s some room there on the porch. Maybe if you press yourself against the window you can get some warmth from the fire.”

Now make no mistake. I found this joke to be very offensive, but I didn’t say anything. But to myself, I thought, “Wow. If this is how one Christian talks about another Christian, what the hell do they think of me?”

And ever since then I’ve always felt like I was out there on the porch, looking in, to a warm scene of people gathered around a fire, but the warmth doesn’t penetrate the glass of the window.

Growing up in such a community, I used books to survive.

I didn’t know you could purchase books! As immigrants we had enough problems just keeping food on the table, there was never money for books!

The books I feasted on were from the library.

And I remember reading one of the Anne of Green Gables books, it was one of the later ones, Anne of the Island or something and I got to a point where L. M. Montgomery refers to ‘those heathen Muhammadans’, and I couldn’t believe it!

She was talking about me!

Couldn’t she ever have imagined that one of those ‘heathen Muhammadans’ would one day be reading one of her Anne books and identifying so much with the characters, thinking that aunt was just like so and so, and that uncle was just like this uncle of hers???

I got so mad I threw the book across the room.

And once more I felt like I was out on the porch, looking in.

We need diverse books!

But what really constitutes diversity?

These days there’s an awful lot of books that pass as diverse literature, that are written by white feminists, who mean well, but I wonder how well they can really penetrate the cultural paradigms of the ethnicities they write about.

I mean how can someone from inside the cabin really comprehend what it’s like to be out there on the porch, when they’re sheltered and warm from the fire?

And think about it. When you’re in a well lit house, looking out onto a dark porch, the windows act as mirrors, you can’t properly see outside! It’s your own world that’s reflected back at you.

And as a result many of these books that the white feminists write really just come down to plunking a white feminist kid in an exotic setting and writing the story as they would react to it!

What kind of diversity is that?

We can’t just color the kid in the story brown or what have you and maintain western ways of thinking.

Kids need to be exposed not only to characters of other colors but also to different cultural thinking and ways of problem solving.

We need to be less superficial.

Because ultimately, how can we ask children to think outside the box when they’re living so firmly within it.

 

 

People in Glass boxes…

Most of the programs I’m running at Fairview Library take place in the program room. With two walls of glass it’s basically a glass ‘box’ on the first floor. Everyone coming in and out of the library passes the program room.

It’s a favorite for people to use for quiet study. The glass walls muffle noise. It’s peaceful and there are outlets and tables and chairs.

I always set up by the big chalkboard, towards one of the solid walls so that the people I’m teaching have their backs facing the glass walls.

This way there is nothing to upstage me.

They don’t see the spectators, who stop by and gawk through the glass walls at me, while I’m presenting. They don’t see these spectators then go to the schedule that’s posted outside the door and see what’s going on, what program I’m running.

And yet the spectators don’t come in.

They just watch me, and I imagine what they see, this highly animated Muslim woman, gesticulating with her hands, marching to the blackboard and jotting down notes, often underlining points with vehemence to illustrate the importance of them in the grand scheme of what she’s trying to say.

And when I picture it from their point of view, I smile.

I must look odd indeed.

I was doing the second of three sessions on Public Speaking on Tuesday. I’ve taken a very different approach to the subject.

Instead of bombarding them with the obvious, I’ve been working on voice. Intonation, inflection, enunciation, and talking about the best use of powerpoint.

The problem is that the attendance isn’t always steady.

These are free workshops and when people don’t pay for a workshop they will often attend sporadically–I mean they’re not losing anything right?

Last Tuesday I had a new lady attend, and I was dealing with powerpoints and I ended up illustrating the issues I was covering by showing them my Roses presentation.

All the people were immigrants, so I geared the workshop to dealing with the special challenges they’re facing when they present.

Honestly just speaking English as a second language would be hard enough! Imagine trying to use your voice as an instrument with the proper inflections that naturally punctuate what you’re saying…in another language!!! I can’t imagine doing so. My Urdu is rudimentary at best. Can’t imagine actually doing a presentation in it!

So what I did was give them a very difficult exercise to do. I gave them some of the most popular poems in English literature–the old fashioned kind of poetry that actually rhymes, and I gave them the assignment to recite the poems without resorting to the rhythms.

That’s not even easy for someone like me!

But what it does is, it makes you hyper conscious of the natural tones and inflections of speech. And that was precisely the objective!

And as a result, within only two, two hour sessions, one of the ladies, a shy type, actually got comfortable enough to recite her poem and speak publicly, which is the whole point of the exercise!

It’s interesting that when you teach a subject, you actually crystallize  your own understanding of how you accomplish what you do.

I found myself telling the group that they should ‘project their personality’ to the edges of the room in which they were speaking. And I realized that this is precisely what I do. It’s the key to holding the attention of an audience.

Some performers, their performance ends at the boundaries of the stage. I was watching The Voice last night, and several of the singers were doing just that.

It’s like the audience was watching them do their own little thing, up there on the stage.

And then I thought of singers like Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam. When he sings Father and Son, it can be such a quiet song, and yet he projects his personality so strongly that it moves even the edges of the audience!

At the end of the session the new lady came up to me and said she didn’t understand why my session wasn’t jam-packed.

I just shrugged.

She said that the public speaking workshops that the library runs were some of the most popular! And there was another guy doing one and she couldn’t even get into it, it was too full. She said that he wasn’t nearly as accomplished in terms of publications and experience as I was.

I asked her what he was doing in his session and she told me he was doing basic stuff.

Then I asked her how my session compared to his and she said they were two different entities, you couldn’t compare them. But that she loved mine.

I guess I’m taking a more creative approach to the whole public speaking thing.

I’m not sure.

But it bothered me.

And I wondered if it wasn’t because I’m Muslim and the other guy was white. That might sound like I’ve got a chip on my shoulder but I think it’s only natural to wonder if it isn’t like people would be wondering, “What can I learn from her?”

And I remembered for the hundredth time, “Oh yeah. I wear hijab and I look different. It’s a stretch for some people to think that I might be competent.”

It’s so very important to keep your audience in mind.

Remember where they’re coming from and what limitations they might be operating within.

I need to remember that more because I made a faux pas.

It’s been such a learning experience dealing with the general public like this.

I’ve had some refugees in two of my sessions, both of whom had suffered persecution at the hands of Muslims in their native countries.

In one part of one of my presentations I deal with the whole adage of ‘write what you know’. I talk about how I was trying to write stories about regular kids like ‘Bobby and Sally and Joe’, when publishers were asking me to send them stories from my cultural heritage.

Then I talked about how I got an idea to write a story about a kid who farts during the prayer (which is a big deal!). You can hear me talk about this here:

Now the thing is, one of the reasons I’ve been successful as a children’s author is because I NEVER EVER EVER preach!!!

My goodness how obnoxious would that be!!!

Naturally there are times when my cultural heritage comes into play, and it would be ridiculous to not mention it! And without understanding why farting in the prayer is a big deal, you won’t get the significance of it, so naturally I do need to do some explaining.

When I’m talking about how I became an author, I tell the story of how I wrote Fajr, because it’s relevant to the topic.

I’m basically telling the listeners that they need to write what they know!

It’s not about teaching aspects of my religion. Not at all!

But a few of the people in the workshops felt like that, and these were people who were sensitized to it because they were refugees and had been persecuted by Muslims.

They even felt as if I’d turned it into a ‘religion’ class.

So…long and short of it, I’ll have to be more careful when I include aspects of my own background in a presentation.

Even though the presentation in which I tell the Fajr story is a very popular presentation in schools, and if anyone felt I was imposing anything, teachers would (and no teacher ever has complained in such a way!), I have to be sensitive to general audiences in case they feel like this is the case.

I guess it comes down to being such a visible minority.

I have to be more guarded.

Lesson learned.

I really am in a glass box, in more ways than one.

 

 

 

Baby audiences continued…

So yesterday I did the baby storytelling again at the library and I relied on poems and stories that I had grown up with.

It was interesting because most of the audience of babies and toddlers were immigrants/Asian/and South Asian and to them these poems and pieces were completely new!

I did an old favorite, “Little Rabbit Fou Fou”. It’s really funny! And Bringing Home My Baby Bumble Bee which is pretty funny too.

And I did five little monkeys and the crocodile. That one I had done last week.

I went after the other children’s librarian, and she played a cd with some toddler songs on it like “Clap Your Sillies Out” and “If You’re Happy and You Know it” and she read the babies Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see? and a few other very simple stories.

It was lovely to see the little round eyes transfixed on the illustrations. And she had a quiet very sweet way with the kids.

And here I come with my crocodile eating monkeys in a tree, SNAP!

I think I was going too fast.

I liked the way the children’s librarian took her time. And I felt a bit rushed, like I just wanted to get the stories done with.

I also told the Lion and the Mouse, hmmm, another story where a character threatens to eat another!

But the babies seemed to like it.

There was one little boy, about four or maybe five, who’s been coming every single week. Last week he’d wanted me to tell this Persian story about a lion and a donkey, but I hadn’t. And all week I thought of that little boy, and decided at the end of the presentation, I’d tell that story just for him because he loved it so.

It’s called What Should I do? What shouldn’t I do? and is, you guessed it, about animals who threaten to eat each other.

I expected the babies to lose interest. They’d been listening for 45 minutes for goodness sakes, they were bound to lose focus! But I didn’t expect what happened next.

Some of the babies didn’t lose focus. One was lying on the floor right in front of me, watch me tell this story, and another one was sitting in his Dad’s lap.

And of course that little five year old, he was SO into the story!!!

During the baby stories, one of the Dads had been sitting there checking his phone. But what I didn’t expect was that this time it was all the adults who had their big googly eyes fixed upon me! Like their babies, sitting in their laps or wriggling out of them, were an after thought.

They LOVED the story!

And there was a funny sort of silence when I was done.

They just sat there.

And for a moment I was sure they wanted another story. But it was five to twelve, and I was feeling really sick, didn’t have the energy to tell another story, so I wrapped up. “Okay. That’s it for the day. I’ll see you next Saturday.”

And they kind of snapped out of it, and started collecting their things.

It was funny.

 

There is nothing as intimidating to a storyteller as an audience of babies!

Little boys, little girls, Asian, South Asian, white, sitting on their mommies’ and daddies’ staring at you with their big brown and black and blue eyes, and a blank look on their faces that basically says, “Okay, go ahead. Try and entertain me!”

So you give it your best shot!

You start with your ‘no brainer crowd pleaser story Big Red Lollipop’ and it always works from three to 93, but these babies haven’t hit three yet and even though their parents are smiling and listening, the babies start squirming.

I lose eye contact. Then they wriggle out of their parents’ laps and start crawling or toddling around. One of them is on the bench thing over the heater, stomping his way across it because he obviously likes the sound.

How come they sat so nicely with the other librarian???

And it completely destroys my faith in my storytelling abilities.

I want to stop the story in the middle.

Just stop and switch gears, but there’s a five year old sitting in the middle, his face lit up like a Christmas tree, and even though he’s already heard it, he is obviously enjoying it again.

The biggest challenge with this artist residency has turned out to be the Saturday storytelling. There just so happens to be a few kids who have come to all of the sessions, so that means I can’t just recycle the stories that always work so well.

I have had to learn new ones.

So I pulled out a new story.

An African folktale: Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper, and yes! I finally had the babies back.

It’s a very simple story, and I told it loudly.

And then after that I did Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree. A finger play, and again the babies approved.

Oh my goodness! They approved.

One or two of them even cracked a smile!

The parents on the other hand were easy!

Of course this story would never have worked!

It’s worked in venues all around the world, and is one of my favourite stories to tell!

*sigh*

But not to babies!

I’ve uploaded it to my youtube channel.

It’s called the Clever Wife.

I hope you enjoy it.

“heh, heh, heh”

Breathe now, heh, heh, heh.

Deeper. Expand your diaphram!

Heh, heh, heh.

There now, that’s better.

Too too busy!

Good news!

King for a Day has been chosen by Kirkus as one of the best books of 2014!!!

Yay!!!

So now lesse, my little book King for a Day has been nominated for the Irma Simonton Black Award; it’s a Bank Street College Best Books of the Year ‘outstanding merit’ book; it’s a Junior Library Guild selection; it’s nominated for the Maine Chickadee award, and now it’s chosen by Kirkus as one of the best books of 2014!

Here’s the video book talk/tutorial I made for it!

 

Yesterday I went to Milton to present at the Celebrating Stories Festival.

It was a pleasure because I got to meet a number of fellow Canadian authors including Lana Button . She wrote these books about a little shy girl named Willow and one of the things that impressed me so much about these books is how well she’s captured the group dynamics of a typical classroom. And the fact that Willow is a *different* sort of character/protagonist.

Frankly I’m rather sick of all the homogeneity of characters in books these days. Most of them contain characters who are pretty much interchangeable. Willow in Willow’s Whispers and Willow Finds a Way, is refreshing!

Lana was just sitting there at a table, she hadn’t been invited to take part in the festival, she was just selling her books by herself, and I saw her there and struck up a conversation. Boy do I know what it feels like to sit there at a table selling books! (Not my favourite thing to do!!!)

Also  had a fabulous time with Kari Lynn Winters.

It was a delight to meet Kari, I’d heard her name bandied about but had never had a chance to meet her, and it was only when I looked her up online that I realized how many books she’s published! Her book about bees looked very interesting!!!

And I met Werner Zimmerman! Werner is a charming illustrator of children’s books and a staple of Canadian literature!

It was such a pleasure to meet him!

And one of the most interesting things that happened was when he showed us two drawings from his portfolio and when I was admiring them, telling him how very beautiful they were, he said, “I only see the mistakes.”

And I found that shocking!

Wow! If someone of his caliber felt that way…

Wow!

And then he went and bought Big Red Lollipop and had me sign it for his granddaughter! Just such a nice guy!

Had an audience of about a hundred parents and their toddlers.

I must say, I’m getting used to toddlers.

On Saturdays at Fairview Library my storytelling sessions are a LOT of toddlers and I have tried to find stories that would appeal to that age group. I thought I was failing horribly at my storytelling skills till the library staff told me how wonderfully engaging I was!

And the interesting thing is, the audiences have been building!

It’s nice to see people eager to hear my stories, and I am learning new ones. But it’s hard!

Out of my comfort zone.

Very very frazzled!

And today I spent most of my time doing paperwork!

Been being interviewed a lot these days!

Here’s me on Radio Islam out of Chicago:

And here’s the mayor of Edmonton reading Big Red Lollipop!

http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_organization/mayor/video-the-mayor-reads-eps2-big-red-lollipop.aspx?doAutoPlay=true

 

Rukhsana Khan

Subscribe