The Book :
Genre: kid lit
A simple tale of love and friendship to warm your heart. Award-winning author and designer Shaila Abdullah teams up with her 10-year-old daughter Aanyah to bring you this heartwarming tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy.Source: Info in the About My Friend Suhana was from the press kit from the publicity team.
Publisher Website: www.lovinghealing.com
“Children with cerebral palsy, like Suhana, the special 7-year-old child in this book, might never take a first step, say their first words or even do the same things other kids can do. But, they can understand kindness, love and true friendship. This is a story about two young 7-year-old girls whose friendship will span a lifetime and whose love will never die … There are so many themes that are brought to light in this wonderfully illustrated book. Friendship, understanding, love, kindness and trust…This mother and daughter have presented a well written, special, colorfully illustrated book that is definitely a must read for children in the lower grades, read aloud in every classroom, hospital groups, book store book signings and even at centers with children who have CP who can learn that they can do anything––all they need to do is try.” ~ Fran Lewis, former Reading and Writing Staff Developer at NYC Public Schools
“Promoting friendship, respect, and support, this children’s book aides in teaching others that art can help overcome and accept the differences of physical characteristics in others. It shows the bond that a mother and daughter share caring and loving those who have physical or mental disabilities as they convey how to be a true friend.” ~ Conny Crisalli, Book Pleasures
“This heartfelt story shares what it would be like to have a friend with cerebral palsy. Parents, teachers and young readers will appreciate the stories purpose and enjoy the colorful illustrations depicting the moods of Suhana and the love and caring she receives from her friend…Both authors have done an excellent job of educating us on how to be role models by opening our minds and hearts to the possibilities.” ~ Kristi’s Book Nook
“My Friend Suhana, for which Kindle and ePub editions are also available, was inspired by the experiences of the authors. While helping her mother with a special needs class at a local community center, a seven year old girl befriends another seven year old girl named Suhana who has cerebral palsy. It is a simple tale of love and friendship that will warm everyone’s heart.” ~ Wayne Walker, Home School Book Reviews
“My Friend Suhana is a delightful read for a children’s book. Very well illustrated with respect, friendship, and advocacy all in mind at the same time.” ~ Dawn Cruzan, President, Camp Craig Allen for all abilities
“This is the story of a seven-year-old’s first attempt at unconditional love. Tough but tender, inspirational yet utterly real, this is a small gem of a tale. Highly recommended for anyone in the position of mentoring a beloved child through the hard places of life.” ~ Paula Huston, author of A Season of Mystery and A Land Without Sin
More reviews at http://myfriendsuhana.com/
Meet The Authors
About Shaila and Aanyah:Shaila Abdullah is an author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of two award-winning books: Saffron Dreams and Beyond the Cayenne Wall. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award, Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction, Patras Bukhari Award for English Language, Reader Views Award, Written Art Award, and a grant from Hobson Foundation. My Friend Suhana is Shaila’s first children’s book. In her free time, Shaila loves to run around with her children–Aanyah and Aaliyana.
Aanyah Abdullah is a creative and compassionate 10-year-old, who is drawn to children born with physical and mental disabilities. When she was in second grade, Aanyah along with her mother Shaila, started volunteering out at a local community center where they helped assist special needs children. Later Aanyah wrote an essay about her friendship with a girl in the class who had cerebral palsy. That essay is the inspiration behind My Friend Suhana. Aanyah dreams of establishing a special school for children with disabilities one day. She is known to always stand up for what is right and is-–in her parents’ and teachers’ eyes––a perfect role model for her baby sister.Aanyah: goodreads
Guest Post By Shaila AbdullahIt was to be a quick drop in for observation—but what I did not know at the time that it was the start of a beloved friendship.
The special needs activity center that my daughter Aanyah and I visited in Spring 2011, was spearheaded by a dear friend. The goal of the center—as I found out—was to create a judgment free area for children with disabilities to socialize and engage in developmentally appropriate activities.
I was impressed by how happy the children looked––from a smiling 20-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome to a 9-year-old curious youngster with Autism to a 7-year-old with an impish grin who had an intellectual disability. But the one who really caught my attention was a little girl sitting on the floor, rocking silently. Her name––her mother told me––was Suhana and she had cerebral palsy. Every now and then she would let out a scream.
I was not the only one who was struck by her.
My then 7-year old daughter Aanyah immediately gravitated to Suhana’s side. Pretty soon she was cradling Suhana in her lap (with some assistance from the child’s mother) and was rocking in unison with her. A short while later, I found my daughter doing sketches of Suhana’s favorite things. Even though the child was unable to play and was verbally non-communicative, Aanyah was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
So began our weekly visits to the center where I helped with administrative tasks, while the friendship between Suhana and Aanyah blossomed. Every now and then I would spot an excited gesture from Suhana at the sight of Aanyah. Aanyah continued to engage with Suhana and sometimes read her books. Mostly the girls rocked together like the occupants of a canoe, keeping time, rhythm, and balance.
This was not the first time I had observed Aanyah’s connection with a special needs child. When she was in kindergarten she helped a friend on Autism spectrum border overcome her anxiety for the new school year by drawing for her and keeping her company each morning. The deaf education students in her class were also drawn to Aanyah because of her compassion and ability to sign.
A few months after we started volunteering at the community center, Aanyah’s second grade teacher called me. She wanted to know about a touching essay that Aanyah had written in class about her special friendship with a girl named Suhana. She asked me if Suhana was a real person.
Yes, I told her.
Two years later I tapered off some of my voluntary activities to have another baby, but stayed in close touch with the center and Suhana’s mother. Aanyah’s story stayed with me and formed a basis for our picture book My Friend Suhana that came out in January of 2014.
Our happiest moment was when Aanyah and I took a few copies of the book to present to Suhana. The image of Suhana’s mother––now four months pregnant with a new baby––holding a tribute to her beloved first child against her growing belly was breathtaking.
“Thank you,” she said, slightly emotional.
And for the first time in my life, I was speechless!
ExcerptMy friend Suhana is like no other girl I know.She does not answer when I call her. She does not play tag or hopscotch with me, and she does not ride a bike. We have never had a play date.But for one hour each week I get a chance to rock her in my arms and imagine that she is my special friend!Suhana and I see each other at the community center where Mom and I help out at a special needs class. Suhana has cerebral palsy, which makes it tough for her to move and learn like other children.And although she cannot stand, walk, talk, or play, I love her all the same!
* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest runs:February 12 to March 12, 11:59 pm, 2014
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