I have to try to update my photo gallery more often!

Problem is I do it so infrequently that each time I put together the web album, I have to relearn the process of posting it!

Argh! In some ways it would be so much easier to just hand all the website maintenance over to my webmaster. But I had to decide to take on the maintenance of it myself!

Anyway, they’re finally up!

Today I spent many hours putting up four web albums!

You can view them on my photo gallery page.

This one’s for the Charlotte Zolotow award. Here I had tons of photos to choose from! Mine including the ones that the official photographer Jo Matzner was kind enough to send me. As promised, I credited all of Ms. Matzner’s photos.


The next photo album is much smaller! It’s my Golden Kite photo album. Problem is I tend to take relatively few pictures even with my digital camera. When I went up on stage to accept my award I asked one of the reps to take the pictures for me. She was such a nice lady but I just can’t remember her name!

I must have put the settings on the camera weird, or maybe it was just because it was one of those huge conference halls where the lighting is kind of particular, but the pictures on my camera didn’t come out well at all! They’re mostly dark. So I lifted some photos off the SCBWI blog. It’s a team blog and they were wonderful! You can check out their blog, the ling is on the right of this page, in my blog roll.

But anyway, here’s the photo album for the Golden Kite award:


Earlier this year my nephew, niece and some of my nephew’s friends got together to form a charitable foundation. The first project we did (I think I’m some kind of consultant on the board or something) was for a Native school here in Toronto.

This is their website: http://ilfcharity.com/

It was up to me to find a needy Native school to do this project in.

(It was kind of going to be like my Orphanages in Afghanistan Library project only for Native libraries here in Canada)

But it turned out to be harder than I thought it would be to find a Native school to help!

It’s not like they’re listed in the directory under ‘n’ for needy native schools!

First thing I did was contact the Native school in Toronto, it’s down on Dundas St. I told them I was looking for a school that needed help with augmenting their library.

I thought they might be able to help me find a needy school.

But they said, “We’re needy!”

Without even checking into it, I told them fine, we’d help them out too.

I should have known that since they were part of the Toronto District School Board, they couldn’t be *that* needy!

The kids were definitely needy but the library, though small, looked fine to me.

What we ended up doing was providing novel sets they could use in the classroom to get these reluctant readers to read.

They were needy in terms of other schools but that’s just because they had lower numbers. Only 65-80 kids from grades k – 8.

My contribution was going to be a day of presentations and a set of my books–a total value of about $900. My nephew, niece and their friends contributed about $1500 worth of books.

When I got there though, it was surprising to see a smart board in the library!

After this experience we tried to find another Native school who could use some help augmenting their library. I made a lot of calls, but was surprised to find my inquiries were met with a lot of suspicion.

I’m not sure why. If it was after they knew I was Muslim, I’d have chalked it up to that, but it was often before. And the thing is I sound very Canadian on the phone!

I finally got hold of an excellent librarian from Gananoque, up near Cornwall, but she was honest enough to tell me that her school was probably similar to the Toronto one in terms of ‘neediness’. I really appreciated her honesty!

I’d still like to do this project in another Native school. Hopefully somewhere up north where they really don’t have much in terms of facilities. So if anyone knows of any really needy Native schools, please email me and we’ll see what we can do. I’m sure my nephew and niece would like to help. That’s just the kind of kids they are!

But anyway, here are the pics from that project:


And last but not least, here are the photos of the tour that I did in 2009 when I attended Wordfest in Calgary and the Vancouver Writer’s Festival.


It looks like I’ll probably be going to London, England for the Muslim Writer’s Award ceremony on Nov. 22nd. How could I miss such an honour?!

If any schools in London would like to book me for a school visit, please email me and we’ll work something out.

Can’t say when I’ll be in that neck of the woods again!