The Weekly 411 (1/12/24)

© Rob Peters

 Jan. 12, 2024 vol. 2

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updatesAre you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations and camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Rob Peters.

Picture Book Giveaway


We are pleased to host a giveaway of Aliya's Secret: A Story of Ramadan, written and illustrated by Farida Zaman (Owl Kids Books 2023). Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!

About the Book: Ramadan is coming, and as Abba and Ammi prepare for their month-long fast, Aliya hugs a secret to her chest: she’s going to fast too! Ammi says she’s still too young to fast, but Aliya is determined. At school, she refuses her snack, her lunch—even the cupcakes Sanjay’s mom drops off for his birthday. But when she gets home, she can’t resist Ammi’s sweet, syrupy baklava. Before Aliya can stop herself, she reaches out and takes a big bite.


Aliya is disappointed in herself, but Ammi explains that there are many other ways to celebrate Ramadan besides fasting, like performing acts of kindness! Together, Aliya and her parents spend the month preparing and delivering meals to people in need.


This joyful look at Ramadan is based on the author’s own childhood experiences and is rich with facts and details about the holiday. Readers familiar and unfamiliar with the holiest month in the Islamic calendar will get swept up in the festivities, and perhaps be inspired to share a meal with their community.


About the Author-Illustrator: Farida Zaman is a multi-disciplinary artist and professional author-illustrator, who is well known for her whimsical, uplifting illustrations in watercolour, gouache, acrylics, or digital art. Born in Bangladesh, and having called many different countries home, including the UK, the US, and Canada, Farida describes herself as a global citizen, with a natural flair for illustrating different cultures and stories related to travel, history, and diverse lived experiences. 

Farida has illustrated 16 picture books and since 2020 is an author illustrator of two books, Aliya's Secret: A Story of Ramadan (Owl Books) and I Want to Be a Gutsy Girl: ABC (Second Story Press).  Meena Can't Wait (Orca Books) is tcoming out in Spring 2024 and two more will come out spring and fall 2026. Farida is a passionate gardener and brings her love of garden and flowers on to her canvas and paper creating illustrations and paintings of florals and foliage that been licensed and commissioned by many manufacturers and clients. Her love of food and cooking is also reflected in her illustrations on cookbook covers and interior illustrations.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Middle Grade Giveaway


We are excited to host a giveaway of the middle grade novel, Amit and the After, b Veera Hiranandani (Kokila), out on Jan. 23. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!

cover design by Kelley Brady

About the Book: A hopeful and heartwarming story about finding joy after tragedy, Amil and the After is a companion to the beloved and award-winning Newbery Honor novel The Night Diary, by acclaimed author Veera Hiranandani. At the turn of the new year in 1948, Amil and his family are trying to make a home in India, now independent of British rule. Both Muslim and Hindu, twelve-year-old Amil is not sure what home means anymore. The memory of the long and difficult journey from their hometown in what is now Pakistan lives with him. And despite having an apartment in Bombay to live in and a school to attend, life in India feels uncertain.


Nisha, his twin sister, suggests that Amil begin to tell his story through drawings meant for their mother, who died when they were just babies. Through Amil, readers witness the unwavering spirit of a young boy trying to make sense of a chaotic world, and find hope for himself and a newly reborn nation.


About the Author: Veera Hiranandani, author of the Newbery Honor–winning The Night Diary, earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of The Whole Story of Half a Girl, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asia Book Award finalist, and How to Find What You're Not Looking For, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award and the New York Historical Society Children's History Book Prize. A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches in the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA Program at The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Writing Courses

Jan. 18 - Jun 6 RMC-SCBWI Webinar Series: Creative Approaches In this series of webinars, industry professionals Naomi Kinsman, Chrystal D. Giles, Anika Aldamuy Denise, and Elizabeth Law explore Creative Approaches to Storytelling, Compelling Characters, Using Filmmaking Techniques to Enhance Drafting and Pacing, and Revision. Register\ for a discount on all four webinars in the series. Or, if you would prefer, you can register for any of the four webinars individually.

 Freelance Editors & Critiques 

Help Me With My Book

Inspirational Things

Into the Unknown: Stuck in a Writing Rut? It Might Be Time to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Tips for Getting Your Creativity Back on Track


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  1. Amil and the After is a must read for me. I always enjoy learning more about other faiths and holidays such as Ramadan.

  2. Looking forward to reading Amil and the After!

  3. Lovely books and terrific links. Thanks for the post.

  4. Love the plot. Congratulations to the both of you. :)

  5. Such wonderful books. Congratulations to the both of you. :)


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