Category Archives: Book Review

Top Writing Tips by Muslim Authors #07


Our guest author for this week’s tips is the talented Papatia Feauxzar. She is the author of many books and articles online along with being one of the founders of Djarabi Kitabs Publications.

Papatia’s Tips for successful writing are as follows:

Tip 1: Strive to Get Beneficial Feedback

What am IFind a minimum of six trusted beta readers. They can also be critique partners (CPs). If you pick the right people, you will receive less bad reviews when your book is published insha’Allah. Beta readers and CPs are important because they will help you polish your work before editing. Don’t think, ‘They will steal my work or my ideas.’ If you’re meant to write that story, no one can take it from you.

Tip 2: Watch TV Occasionally

This tip can be a bit unconventional because TV can become a fitna if you don’t have a good handle on it. However, if you think about it, the movie scripts are written by writers. So watch TV like a writer. Pay attention to the major parts of the movie you will watch; the beginning, the climax of the movie, the ending, and everything else in between that got your attention. Later, ponder over it. Think about how it grabbed your attention or not. If it piqued your interest, how did the writer(s) make the movie in a way that it was hard for you to tune out. Then, try to write that way to make it hard for your reader to toss your book the minute they start it. You WANT your reader to keep turning pages. You also want to surprise them and weave in original twists!

Tip 3: Read and Review Books

The NannyYou can’t be a writer if you don’t read. The more you read, the more you stimulate your creative brains cells in my opinion. Reading makes you think of different ways a story line in a book you read could have gone. It also makes you think of other plot twists you would have wanted to read. And this triggers your own positive writing flow.

Reading also leads to reviewing a story mentally. It helps you become more critical of your own work in the process. You will catch yourself thinking for instance, ‘If I write my next story, I won’t write it this way. I’ll be more detailed or not. I’ll use first POV or not. Or I’ll try my hand at third-person close and see how I like it, etc.”

Above all, ask Allah to inspire you to write great stories which will be mubarak and beneficial to you and your audience, amen.

 

You can find Papatia’s books on her website and on Amazon,  both linked below:

www.djarabikitabs.com

https://goo.gl/xzcrRh

Bio: Papatia Feauxzar is an American author of West African descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son. You can visit her website at www.djarabikitabs.com.

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Top Writing Tips by Muslim Authors #06


WLTPP-front-cover-600x677Alhamdu Lillah we are now in the month of Dhul Hijjah and we aim to continue our series on Top Writing Tips for a few more weeks before concluding the series insha Allah.

We will also continue with the #Giveaways and therefore keep your eyes peeled on our Social Media platforms insha Allah.

This weeks top tips has been provided by Zaahied Sallie the co-author of the children’s book ‘We Love to Play Pray.’

Zaahied shares the following writing tips with our readers:

Allah swears by the pen. Expression of this kind in the Quran is called ‘waaw al qasm’. Allah only makes an oath on something that is of great importance.

Therefore, when we write, we are following the best of traditions.

With this in mind, we understand that writing in itself – if pure – is an act of worship.

When writing, bear the following in mind:

  • The first draft should be from the heart.

  • Try to step away from that first draft for a couple of weeks. Put it aside and let it ‘simmer’. When you look at it again, approach it as objectively as possible. Your first draft will most likely be the first of many. Your original draft will certainly not be the final draft.

  • Write every day even if it is only five lines, even if it is only for 30 minutes. Try and set a time for writing when the home is at its quietest. Alternatively find a quiet place to write, outside of the home. A library is usually a good option or a park or cosy spot on the beach!

  • Read every day and read a wide variety of books. The greatest tool for writing is reading.

  • Become intimate with the dictionary and thesaurus. Learn a new word every day.

  • Familiarise yourself with successful books within the genre you wish to write.

  • Quality in the design and artwork is imperative when writing children’s books. Do not compromise on quality in any way.

  • Be brave and think outside of the box.

WLTPP-Back-cover-600x600You can find more of Zaahied’s works on their website for Red Kufi Books. You can read our review of their book ‘We Love to Play Pray‘ here and purchase the book, and others, from the link below:

http://redkufi.co.za/?product_cat=childrens-books

 

JazakAllahu Khair to Zaahied for sharing your tips above. We will be doing a Giveaway of their book this week and therefore keep an eye out for that on the blog and on social media insha Allah.

If you are a Muslim Author who would like to be featured in these posts, please contact us via mail@islamopedia.co.uk

 

Top Writing Tips by Muslim Authors #05


Ihram

Ayeina have been a supporter of ours since the beginning of our book the Young Explorers’ Adventures in Makkah. They carried out a proof read of the initial text, they provided artwork for some of the chapters and even designed the inside cover.

They have provided the top tips for this week’s post on writing tips by Muslim Authors:

1) Utilise the time after Fajr as your mind is fresh and that time is full of Barakah (plus most of the family members are asleep at that time (especially kids *hurray*)). But please make sure you sleep early the previous night to save yourself from poking the pen in your eye while saving your head from hitting the notebook you’re writing on :p

2) When you think you don’t have the time to write even though you have like gazillion ideas in your mind – record it! Record the audio while moving around, cooking etc. (Mundane tasks that you do everyday). It not only saves time but clears your head – without the fear of forgetting all the concepts you had floating in there.

3) Read, read and read. Because readers are writers! It doesn’t mean you plagiarize (plagiarism kills creativity along with your reputation). It means simply reading for the vastness of your mind. For inspiration. For various perspectives. For understanding. For the love of words!

01-8x8cover-paperbackTheir book / journal entitled Alhamdulillah for Series is a great tool to bring positivity, thankfulness and shukr into our daily lives.

You can read our review of their Alhamdulillah for Series here and purchase the book from Amazon and all good bookstores world wide.

Alhamdu LillahThey also run an annual competition called the ‘Gratitude Art Contest’ which brings together people from all around the world highlighting the things in their lives that they are grateful for. Join their social media pages to view the talented entries and look out for future competitions as they run quite a few in the year.

Thank you to Ayeina for contributing your tips. We look forward to working with you on future projects insha Allah.

If you are a Muslim Author who would like to be featured in these posts, please contact us via mail@islamopedia.co.uk

 

Top Writing Tips by Muslim Authors #04


This week’s author feature is by sister Latifah Bint Mohammed. Latifah is the author of several children’s books and describes her journey to writing as follows:

‘Becoming an author definitely wasn’t on the cards for me. As I grew up I aspired to be different things; first a sweet shop keeper (I never really understood why people laughed when I told them this), then it evolved to becoming an accountant, a business woman and then a Maths teacher, which alhamdulillah I did become.

Sunnah RecipeI was always a writer, I just didn’t know. I’ve always been writing poems since I was a teen, back then it was a coping mechanism for all the whirlwind emotions that I would feel day to day. It was only after I became a mother did I start taking a keen interest into what was out there for young mini Muslims. Every night I would read to my baby of a couple months and ideas would just come surging into my mind, rhythmic, fun, colourful ones! The stuff that children’s books are made of!

My husband inspired me to write…. But it was actually two years later when baby number two came along did I finally take the plunge into this wonderful world. Even then I needed some coaxing by my wonderful sister who was my cheerleader, alhamdulillah! (and her husband. I just picture him sulking if I don’t mention him here).’

When we asked what tips she had for budding writers and her top 3 tips, this was her response:

When I Grow Up‘How can I become a writer? ‘ I hear you say?

Well anyone and everyone is a writer in their own right. Everyone should have a vision for themselves, a goal that they can work towards and push themselves towards and that too with tons and tons of dua for Allah to pave a way for you, in sha Allah.

If I had to simplify and pinpoint three ways to become a writer, they would be:

1) Read lots and see what is already out there.

2) Find your inspiration and your own style

3) Keep sharing your work with people who can give you honest feedback and then keep refining.

I’ve only just started my journey as an author and I am loving every moment of it. Alhamdulillah. :)’

Sunnah FoodsThank you to first time author, second time mom, third time sister, fourth time teacher Latifah for contributing your story and sharing your journey with us.

If you would like to check out any one of Latifah’s books then you can purchase them directly via her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram or through the Darussalam website linked below.

https://www.facebook.com/people/Latifah-Bint-Mohammed/100016774879100

https://www.instagram.com/latifahbintmohammed/

http://darussalam.com/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?author=Latifah Bint mohammed Anwar

Latifah has also kindly offered her book ‘When I Grow Up I Want to Be …‘ as a #Giveaway on Islamopedia. Please keep an eye on our social media pages for the #Giveaway which will be launched later in the day insha Allah.

If you are a Muslim Author who would like to be featured in these posts, please contact us via mail@islamopedia.co.uk

 

 

Book Review – Ramadan without Daddy


Title: Ramadan without Daddy

Author: Misbah Akhtar

Publishers: Djarabi Kitabs Publications

RWD coverRamadan without Daddy is a story of a young family who learn to live without Daddy around because Mummy and Daddy have separated and divorced.

The book brings to the forefront the emotional struggle and the changes that a family go through when a couple separate and it tries to deal with them in a child friendly manner.

The book begins with Danyal, the younger of the two children, asking where Daddy is. His sister Khadija explains that Daddy no longer lives with them because Mummy and Daddy are divorced. Mummy then explains that sometimes it’s better for Mummies and Daddies to live apart because living together makes them sad and unhappy.

There is a striking imagery about how if you try to place the right puzzle piece into the wrong hole, then it will never fit, no matter how hard you push it. And the harder you push you will not only be hurting the puzzle (metaphorically speaking) but you will end up hurting yourself too.

The story then develops into how the children cope without Daddy and how Mummy is coping, or not coping in some cases, without having Daddy around.

The book then ends with how Ramadan comes round and it is their first Ramadan as a family without Daddy at home. It’s sad because Mummy and the children miss having Daddy around but they make a promise that even though Daddy is not here, all will be ok and that they will deal with it as a family and become happy again.

Ramadan without Daddy deals with the very difficult issue of divorce in a Muslim family, which seems to have remained a taboo subject, even though the rate of divorce among Muslim families is steadily on the rise.

It’s a good book to teach Children that not all families have two parents and that sometimes parents do separate and things in the home can change. You can speak to children about friends and neighbours that may have faced divorce in the family and how they should be sensitive towards them if they are a bit down or sad.

Through the book you can also teach children about single parent families, step families, and even some families where grandparents or others are the primary carers of children. Although this book deals specifically with divorce, there are other reasons why children may only live in one parent families, for example the death of a parent, or a parent living abroad and so on.

Having said all of the above my only concern with the book is that it focuses a little too much on the negative impact that divorce can have on the family and how sad it can make everyone in the home.

Although in the end it gets to the part where things are starting to look better, I would have expected another page or two dedicated to how Mummy becomes Mummy again and cooks nice food for Iftar, and how Daddy starts to visit again and take the children for visits a few days a week. The father rarely features in the book other then in what Mummy says about him or in the children’s imagination of him in far away adventures.

A little more focus on the outcome and how things get back to some sense of normality would have left a more balanced message from the book.

Maybe it’s because I am a man that my judgement is slightly clouded, or probably because I have never had to go through the ordeal of divorce in my life.

Giveaway with DjarabiYou can judge for yourself and see what you think of the book. Get a free copy of the book by entering our #Giveaway on the Blog, Facebook or Instagram. It’s very simple to enter:

  1. 1. Repost our #Giveaway post
  2. 2. Tag @islamopedia and @djarabikpub
  3. 3. Let us know via a comment, DM or email that you have done the above.

Simples!

You can also purchase the book from Amazon using the link below:

https://goo.gl/fpHzgo

 

 

 

 

 

Top Writing Tips by Muslim Authors #01


Islamopedia has teamed up with some awesome Muslim Authors to bring you their inspiration and top tips for writing.

Each week we will share an author, their books, and their top tips for writing / publishing culminating in a final list of top tips to be published at the end of the series.

We hope that you find these posts beneficial, and perhaps it may inspire you into putting your own pen to the paper.

The Muslims

The first to feature in these posts is Ahmad Philips the creator of the comic strips and cartoon series The Muslims.

Ahmad says, “My greatest inspiration for writing is seeing the materials that are popular but have immoral teachings in them. I don’t want my kids wanting to be gods or magicians or superheroes. I want to create material that can be entertaining, teach Islam, and be an act of ibadah for me.”

So when we asked Ahmad for his top 3 tips for budding Muslim Authors this is what he had to say:

(1) Just write. If you’re to write for 10 or 20 years, for sure your writing will get better. Don’t worry about writing a masterpiece. Just keep writing.

(2) Stay focused. Remove all distractions. Put your phone on silent, and turn off your Wi-Fi. If you have roommates or family make sure they know not to disturb you. Likely they’ll disturb you even more!  Finding those few hours in the day when everyone is asleep might be key.

(3) No excuses. It’s easy to come up with a million reasons why you can’t do something. I have no time, I lack the tools, I don’t know what to write etc.; No excuses, just do it!

You can check out Ahmad’s first Graphic Novel ‘The Muslims’ on the website https://themuslimscomic.com . The book is also available via Amazon and other outlets.

Ahmad’s artwork will also be featuring in our forthcoming title ‘The Young Explorers’ Adventures in Madinah’ insha Allah.

If you are a Muslim Author who would like to be featured in these posts, please contact us via mail@islamopedia.co.uk.

Book Review – We Love to Play Pray


WLTPP-front-cover-600x677Title: We Love to Play Paray

Authors: Nurah Tape and Zaahied Sallie

Publishers: Red Kufi Books

Pages: 28

We Love to Play Pray is a children’s book about a young boy named Suhaib who is intrigued about the prayer after witnessing his mother on the prayer rug making Salah.

As she finishes the Salah, he begins asking her questions about what she was doing, to which she responds by teaching him about the prayer and Salah.

This gives the boy an idea for a new game which they call ‘Play Pray’ and along with his siblings Yusuf and Maryam, they set up a makeshift Musalla area in their bedrooms to play.

They dress up in thobes and turbans and hijabs and pretend to pray in the Masjid. One sibling calls the Adhan, whilst another sibling pretends to be the Imam and in this way, under the supervision of their mother, they play and learn about the prayer at the same time.

WLTPP-Back-cover-600x600They learn about the names of the five daily prayers, about the timings of the prayers, they learn about the Ka’bah as the Qibla and many other aspects of the Salah.

The book is well written, easy to read, and accompanied with colourful illustrations to engage readers both young and old. We Love to Play Pray is a book that you will definitely enjoy reading with your children.

Next time you want to teach your children about Salah, why not do it via a game of ‘Play Pray.’ 

We love to Play Pray

Play Pray

Play Pray

We love to Play Pray

Every Single Day 

To get your copy, visit Red Kufi Books @: http://redkufi.com/store#!/We-Love-to-Play-Pray/p/60141061/category=16658002

Review – The Savvy Muslim Youth Manifesto


Title: The Savvy Muslim Youth Manifesto  savvy-muslim-youth-manifesto-cover-1880x2500

Author: Amina Edota

Published by: www.YouthlyHub.com

As far as manifestos go, the Savvy Muslim Youth Manifesto is one of a kind. It’s not full of the bold promises that never materialise in manifestos devised by political parties. Nor is it full of exaggerated claims and boastfulness found in manifestos of large organisations and companies. Rather it has within it gems from the Qur’an and Sunnah and practical tips to help navigate the personal and social spheres of our lives.

The 11 point Manifesto covers topics that range from being a True Servant of Allah and Life Long Learning to Managing Your Time and Involving Yourself in the Community. Written in an easy and readable language, the Manifesto is designed to empower us to live with purpose, passion, purity, patience, persistence, positivity and inner peace. It is designed as a guide to teach us how to live a productive and purposeful life. Continue reading Review – The Savvy Muslim Youth Manifesto

Review – Bangladesh Diaries


Bangladesh Diaries

By Salam Jones

bd-1

Bangladesh Diaries is a photographic journal of Salam Jones’ travels in Bangladesh. It is a product of over three months of travelling in the densely populated nation of 150 million people taking photographs of their way of life.

With over 300 pages covering towns and districts spanning from Kushtia to Dhaka to Sylhet, the book captures life as it is in this tiny country, featuring the places, the people and the foods of Bangladesh – all things that make up the culture of a country.

It captures the men, women and children of the country. It features husbands, wives, students, workers, farmers, rickshaw drivers, beggars to name just a few of the categories of people presented in the book. Continue reading Review – Bangladesh Diaries

Review – Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation


khadijah_hardback-booksmall2_1024x1024Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation

By Fatima Barkatulla

Published by Learning Roots

‘Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation’ retells the story of one the greatest women in the history of Islam, and by extension probably one of the greatest women in the history of humanity.

She was the mother of the believers and the first wife of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). She was the first to accept Islam and supported the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) during the difficult early years of Islam under the persecution of the Makkans and the Quraysh. Continue reading Review – Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation