Hurray for beautiful new books!!!! Here is another, dear friends, so let’s all sing:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO:
Are you in love yet? I am!
Here’s a little bit about the book from the Amazon sales page:
An evocative picture book debut that tells the true story of the author’s immigration from Kuwait to the United States.
Zahra lives in a beautiful place where the desert reaches all the way to the sea and one hundred butterflies always fill the sky. When Baba and Mama tell her that their family is no longer welcome here and they must leave, Zahra wonders if she will ever feel at home again–and what about the people she will leave behind? But when she and her family arrive in a new desert, she’s surprised to find magic all around her. Home might not be as far away as she thought it would be.
With spare, moving text and vivid artwork, Zahra Marwan tells the true story of her and her family’s immigration from Kuwait, where they were considered stateless, to New Mexico, where together they made a new home.
Happily, I got to chat with author Zahra Marwan and I asked her if there was an incident that happened on the path to publication that she thought we’d like to hear about.
ZAHRA: It’s lovely to be here, Vivian. I’ll share a humorous incident leading up to publication:
My editor Allison Moore sent me my first physical copy of my book as international borders in Kuwait had finally opened since closing during the pandemic. As I quickly scrambled to go see my mom, I made sure to bring this book with me!
She put on her reading glasses and flipped pages and laughed at how I had depicted my aunts. “This is your aunt fly-wobbling by? Your aunts have thick beautiful hair like this?” And when I walked up to my aunt’s arched doorway surrounded by plants, I felt like I was walking into a myth. There she was annoyed by my cousin’s parrot, chasing it with the broom. I showed my older cousins my copy and they asked, “why isn’t anyone smoking in this book?”
Oh my…that is funny, Zahra. I wonder what the publisher would have said if you had illustrated people smoking. But how wonderful that you were able to share the book with your family!.
And here’s a little bit about author/illustrator Zahra Marwan:
Working as a traditional artist with watercolor and ink, Zahra enjoys small narrative illustrations and magical realism. She is fond of her cultural roots in Kuwait as well as the liberal education she has received throughout her life in New Mexico. She’s mostly inspired by women of small physical stature who are otherwise larger than life as well as fringe and colloquial languages. She loves poetry and independent cinema and how quiet and mysterious the night is. She is deeply fond of the sea.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico in Languages and Literature, with a minor in Flamenco Dance and History as well as a minor in Philosophy. She has loved working with museums, non-profits, theater companies, cultural centers, and has found making picture books to be dreamier than she had dreamed them to be. She works out of her studio at the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
You can connect with Zahra and find out more about her work:
Before we close, I want to remind you all to leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win a copy of this beautiful new book, WHERE BUTTERFLIES FILL THE SKY: A Story of Immigration, Family, and Finding Home. Please share this post to spread the word and help others find out about Zahra’s book!
And dear friends, please don’t forget, the best way to thank an author or illustrator for creating a book that you love is to buy the book, review the book, tell friends about the book, and ask your local library to purchase copies of the book for their collection.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks – I continue to distribute prizes for #50PreciousWords – and have started packing for my trip. I leave on April 3!