Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Hena Khan, Author of Amina’s Voice & More to the Story; On Writing Young Muslim Characters and… A Sequel in the Works!

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Hena Khan. Author of Amina's Voice and More to the Story; on writing young muslim characters... and a sequel in the works! illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, her arms spread out wide as if she is showing off something, with hena as a blue penguin holding a book, wearing glasses, and waving at you!

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

Back in 2017 when I was only just discovering the beauty of diverse young adult literature, I never knew that there was an age category called ‘middle grade’. Though I had read middle grade as a younger reader, it never crossed my mind that I would enjoy middle grade as an adult — that is, until I read Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, which was the book that ignited my love for diverse literature for younger readers.

Read More »

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar – A Soft Yet Powerful YA Contemporary Featuring an F/F Romance that Battles Discrimination and Celebrates the Art of Henna

The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar. Reviewed by Joce, (at) The Quiet Pond.

Summary:

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Joce’s review:

When CW told me that we were going to have Adiba Jaigirdar visiting the Pond, I was overjoyed because I am just so… moved by The Henna Wars. It is a young adult contemporary novel featuring an F/F romance, and also has its roots firmly planted in destroying homophobia, racism, bullying, and cultural appropriation. After I was done reading, I sat on the couch filled with warm, fuzzy feelings, but also feeling empowered to get this book in the hands of younger readers everywhere.

Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Adiba Jaigirdar, Author of The Henna Wars; On The Intersections of Queer & Muslim Identity, and Cultural Appreciation versus Appropriation

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author Interview with Adiba Jaigirdar, author of The Henna Wars; on the intersections of queer and muslim identity, and cultural appropriation and appreciation. illustration shows xiaolong the axolotl, her arms out wide as if she is showing off something, with adiba has a hijabi duckling wearing a red backpack, waving at you.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

When Adiba reached out to me and invited me to participate in her virtual launch for The Henna Wars, I was over the moon. I’ve been buzzing with excitement for Adiba’s debut, The Henna Wars and I’m delighted that it releases today. Although I couldn’t contribute by hosting a live chat, I knew I absolutely had to invite Adiba to the Pond again following her previous visit alongside the contributing authors of the Keep Faith anthology!

Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – Tashie Bhuiyan, Author of Counting Down With You, Shares Her Love Letter to Writing One’s Culture and Identity

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Lyla Lee, author of the Mindy Kim series; on the inspiration behind mindy kim and writing in korean culture. illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, her arms out wide as if she is showing off something, with tashie bhuiyan as a gray and gold fox holding a burrito bowl

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

If you know me, you may have already heard me say that the YA contemporary scene has been nothing short of phenomenal. What I love even more though, is when a story centers on Asian teens who fall in love. With the likes of Love from A to Z (about two Muslim teens who meet and fall in love and explores the magic of fate and chance) and I Love You So Mochi (about a Japanese-American teen who visits her grandparents in Japan to figure out what she wants to do with her life – and falls in love with a Japanese teen who dresses up as a mochi mascot!), I’ll always be here for more stories about Asian teens who find joy and happiness.  Read More »

Book Recommendations – Books by Muslim Authors for #RamadanReadathon (and 2020 Muslim Books Releases To Be Excited For!)

Book Recommendations with Varian: Books by Muslim Authors for Ramadan. An illustration of Varian the toad, sewing, with a moon and stars behind them.

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

Ramadan mubarak to all my friends who celebrate! Although the world is a strange and unfamiliar to us at the moment, I hope that all of my Muslim friends can find peace and fulfilment this month.

In celebration of Ramadan, I decided to put together a list of some of my favourite books by Muslim authors! All the books that I recommend on this list are books that I have already read (save for one, which I am partway reading and I’m loving it so far!), so they have my stamp of approval. Reading books by Muslim authors is a fun and awesome way to show solidarity to our Muslim friends during this time. Better yet, why not join in on the #RamadanReadathon that’s going on right now? You can find more information about this readathon on Nadia’s blog, the readathon’s Twitter account, and Instagram account!

Read More »