Zanib Mian is not only a published author, but also the founding director of two new, yet thriving publishing companies: Muslim Children´s Books and Sweet Apple Publishers. She was recently on the board of judges for the Young Muslim Writers Awards in the UK. A mother and aunt, Zanib seeks out her inner child to open up her imagination and write books like ´´Robot, That Sad Moo´´ and ´´Oddsockosaurus.´´ Find out what new projects are in-store in my interview with this inspiring Muslimah:
R.You recently attended The Young Muslim Writers Awards. How was that experience?
Z.The YMWA ceremony is an event I look forward to year after year. It’s a simply magical event and truly inspirational for the young ones to hear from best-selling authors and other key figures. I was honoured to be on the panel of judges this year and therefore, see the talent in our Community, first hand. It also brings back memories of my own childhood which is when I discovered my love for writing.
R.You are founder of two publishing companies, Muslim Children´s Books and Sweet Apple Publishers. Can you describe what is special about these two companies and what makes them unique?
Z.Sweet Apple Publishers represent all minorities in fun, quirky and vibrantly illustrated books. We represent children and families that don’t normally see themselves in books, in a non-issue way. This means that the books are not attempting to deal with certain issues or teach about religious events. They are just great stories, about regular things, like dinosaurs and robots. We believe that all children should see themselves as the main characters in books like these because it makes them feel that they are also seen and are a part of the society they live in. During the London Book Fair, we heard from one mixed-raced boy´s mother that he was upset when there were no mixed-race characters in books that he could dress up as on World Book Day. That was the year that Oddsockosaurus was releasing and I was warmed by the thought that he would have one to choose from very soon.
Muslim Children’s Books is special because it’s really about the community and inspiring children with an overwhelming love for Allah. The company just launched with two new books in September, 2016. Both of the books published were due to popular demand by parents, after they had engaged with content we had made available for free. We help parents convey the teachings of Islam in a fun way, with unique child-friendly narratives. It’s what people have been searching for, Alhamdulilah. Out of the two companies, Muslim Children’s Books draws my heart in the most because it’s a great honour to spread the love of Allah.
R.What/who inspires you and how? What inspired you to create these two publishing companies?
Z.My children, nephews and niece inspire me a lot. Their amusing antics have been the inspiration for a lot of my work. For Muslim Children’s Books, the impetus was purely the pleasure of Allah. I shared resources with the hope that they would benefit many parents and children. I was overwhelmed with the engagement I got and realised there is a great demand for the kind of books we now publish – a demand that I am happy to be part of fulfilling Bi’ithnillah! For Sweet Apple, it was the desire to fight prejudice and dispel negative stereotypes through children’s books – not only for Muslims, but for all minorities.
R.What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Z.Writing is a wonderful gift – if you have it, embrace it full on! Have fun with it. Be yourself, that’s what your readers will love you for.
R.What are upcoming projects/book releases that we should look out for?
Z.Ah! Your readers have heard it here first because we haven’t yet announced that we will be releasing more Migo & Ali books, inshaAllah. We’re also releasing ’25 Duas for Kids,’ which has the same style as the very popular ’30 Hadith for Kids.’ I’m really excited about a quirky pre-teen book that I am working on, which fans of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ will love.
Follow Zanib on Twitter @zendibble
Like Facebook Fanpage @Muslimchildrensbooks