The last day of this tour was spent first with little anklebiters (the head start program children) reading them first Silly Chicken and then telling them my Big Red Lollipop story.

It’s funny how the tone of my voice changes completely when I’m dealing with these tiny little children.

Most of them are three or four, many of them were first nations and a couple of them clearly had a hard time sitting still for any length of time.

But they were cute.

The only real mistake I made was telling them I’d been three years old when I came from Pakistan. First one chubby little hand went up, “I’m three!” Then another, “I’m four!” then another, “Me too!” And pretty soon they were all calling out their ages holding up three or four fingers as the case may be.

Took a moment to get them back on track.

Then I went back to the Middle school I’d gone to yesterday and in the hall way this tall nice looking boy, about thirteen waved at me as I walked past and said, “Are you the author?”


Then he said, “I love you!”

He’d been in the presentation yesterday. It was so cute! And so out of the blue!

Then I went to the grade six classroom and started doing my Dahling if You Luv Me Would You Please Please Smile presentation, and as usual, as soon as I got to the part about the suicide, the kids starting looking around, very uncomfortable.

Just tells me how many of our teens have contemplated it.

And then afterwards two of the girls, Joie and Kaia interviewed me for their newspaper, but what was really cool was that this guy from the local radio station Ed, recorded my presentation and then recorded the girls’ interview because he was going to edit it all together for his radio show.

He’s going to send me the link and when he does I’ll add it to my website insha Allah. It was a wonderful interview!

And then he asked me a few additional questions and then Kari Sagel, the head librarian in charge of the Spirit of Reading program took me for a drive up and down the coast as far out as the roads go.

The sun came out and I got to see Sitka basking in its glow! It really is a spectacular place!

And we drove down by where we had gone boating and we got out at a couple of spots and saw a whale spout.

The water was smooth with the tiniest ripples and Kari kept saying it would have been so much better to have gone out in the boat today.

We had actually been through five foot waves and she told me that she’d actually been quite nervous at the time.

Came back to the library in time for me to do my storytelling presentation. Had a nice audience, started out small, but I was so loud and so enthusiastic, the chairs were pretty much full by the end of the session.

Told Big Red Lollipop again and some of my other favourites.

And this 59 year old lady says to me, “I love you!”

And I laughed and told her she was the second person that day who’d told me that they loved me.

She’d heard the interview on Talk of Alaska with Steve Heimmel and had loved it. She said I had laughed so much during that inteview. And I asked her if it had been annoying, me laughing so much.

Not at all, she told me. And then said how she’d wanted to come to the library to hear my stories.


It was about then that I realized I’d lost my brooch.

And it wasn’t just any brooch, it was one that had belonged to my sister Bushra. She died almost ten years ago.

Kind Kari suggested we drive back out to where we’d stopped to look for whales.

Part of me wanted to and part of me was saying to myself, “What the heck are you doing?! It could be anywhere! You’re putting these nice people to so much trouble! It’s just a brooch!”

I tried to give Kari an out. I even said it was okay, it could have been anywhere, but at the same time, I had mentioned that the brooch had been my sister’s.

That did it. We went out there, and here I had basically resigned myself to it being lost but the first place we pulled over, where we’d first seen the whale spout, I saw it shining in the gravel!

I was so excited! I actually found it!

Oh it was so kind of them!

And Kari said I’d forever associate the brooch now with the whale we’d seen, and I thought, “Yes, so true!” And with the kindness I’d experienced in Sitka.

Then we went for dinner, fabulous food and great company and even better conversation!

And now I’m back, and it’s almost 11 o’clock. Finished packing and I just need to take my shower, pray and go to sleep.

Gotta get up at 4 am and be out of here by 4:40.

I’ll be on my way home, insha Allah.

A long and beautiful trip!

Alhamdu lillah!