BOOK FOR KEEPS BOOK OF THE YEAR
Books for Keeps (“the most important periodical in the world of children’s books” according to Philip Pullman) asked leading editors to choose their book of the year, and my amazing publisher chose BOY, EVERYWHERE! You can pre-order it here.
What kind of a son lies to and steals from his own father? One that has been forced to
leave everything he owns and knows behind.
Sami’s privileged life in Damascus is torn apart after a bomb attack on a shopping mall, which forces his family to leave his home in Syria, bound for England. He thinks it’s his fault, but is it? Will they survive the journey, can he trust his new friends – and will Sami ever find somewhere to call home again? From privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, locked up in a smuggler’s apartment, imprisoned and bullied at home in the UK, this is a coming-of-age story of friendship, family, belonging and fighting for a better future.
Boy, Everywhere, my upper middle grade novel was inspired by a news interview in which I saw refugees in muddy camps holding their smart phones, talking about what they’d left behind. Looking around my comfortable living room, I realised that it could easily have been me. Due to media coverage, many people assume that refugees are poor, uneducated and want to come here because they’d have a better life. If it weren’t for the war, most Syrians would never have left. This book conveys the true lives of Damascenes and also covers the blatant xenophobia in the UK that we’ve seen due to Brexit and the American presidential election. It shows the colour in contrast to the grey rubble and dust we see on TV. It is a universal story, in which my protagonist is a normal boy who loves cars, playing football and his PlayStation.
To be published in October 2020. Pre-order from Waterstones here.
TIMELINES OF EVERYONE
I am one of the contributing writers to this amazingly, inspiring book. It’s an illustrated non-fiction history book filled with visual biographies of people from all over the world, both the well-known and the less-heralded but equally important.
“Timelines of Everyone breathes fresh life into the biographies of the people you thought you knew, yet also finds new stories from previously overlooked or ignored voices. Did you know US President Franklin D. Roosevelt was defeated only once in 300 wrestling matches? Or that more women passed NASA’s rigorous astronaut training tests for Project Mercury, but were forbidden to fly into space? Or how about the fact that Einstein’s last words were lost, because his nurse didn’t speak German? This fascinating title takes kids on a historical journey, revealing not just the incredible achievements, contributions, and adventures of historical luminaries, but the lesser-known events that shaped them too, from childhood into old age.”
To be published in September 2020
SUGAR OVERLOAD – SHORT STORY FOR SCOOP MAGAZINE
I was truly honoured when Sarah Odedina (editor of the Harry Potter series in the UK) asked me to write a story for @scoopmag ‘s 25th issue.
To see my story in a magazine which has published world-renowned authors such as Neil Gaiman, Tom Stoppard, Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson is just wonderful! Squeee!
The magazine is sold in the Tate, Daunt Books, Barnes & Noble and directly in 43 countries including Australia, India, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and the USA. I feel as if I have achieved something quite amazing in my writing career today.
It was also really exciting for my kids to be able to open a children’s magazine and read my work in it. It feels surreal and I am indeed very grateful for this brilliant experience.
Published in December 2019
THE STORY OF BANKER OF THE PEOPLE, MUHAMMAD YUNUS
Last year, THE Cheryl Klein (editor of the Harry Potter series in the US) asked if I’d be interested in writing the additional material for a chapter book biography. I’d just moved house and had no internet, but I said yes. It turned out to be the most perfectly chosen project for me – not just because I read economics at university.
I really enjoyed researching all of the topics and working around @PaulaYoo’s enlightening work. I thought my sidebars would’ve been boxed around Paula’s chapters, but I was delighted to see they are chapters of their own.
Muhammad Yunus is an exceptional person and I hope his story inspires readers as much as it inspired me. “The Story of Banker of the People, Muhammad Yunus is an inspiring account of economic innovation and a celebration of how one person—like one small loan—can make a positive difference in the lives of many.” It includes black-and-white illustrations as well as the sidebars I worked on (listed in grey in the table of contents), a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.
Published in August 2019