During Ramadan, Zubair attempts to connect with his culture through food content on social media ... he ultimately ends up getting schooled by his grandmother on how to prepare a traditional dish.
“Insha’Allah, No, Maybe So” by Rhonda and Nadia Roumani Earns Junior Library Guild Selection
JLG touts itself as “the subscription box solution for the modern librarian” and its selections are highly respected within the publishing industry.
“Insha'allah, No, Maybe So,” a picture book by Syrian American journalist and author Rhonda Roumani, was just named a Junior Library Guild (JLG) Gold Standard Selection. The book was co-written by Roumani’s sister and the co-founder of the University of Southern California's American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Nadia Roumani, and illustrated by the artist Olivia Aserr.
It’s a big deal for “Insha'allah, No, Maybe So” to receive praise from the JLG ahead of its publication. JLG touts itself as “the subscription box solution for the modern librarian” and its selections are highly respected within the publishing industry. Curated by editorial experts, JLG is a customizable collection-development service based on each library’s needs, readers’ interests and budget.
JLG titles are curated by the service’s renowned editorial team, who reads and reviews thousands of manuscript submissions each year to choose the best, award-worthy books for our members. The service says that nearly 95 percent of their selections go on to win an award or some other publishing industry accolade. Libraries that subscribe to JLG receive a curation of new books all year long.
In a post on Instragram, Rhounda Roumani expressed her gratitude with the honor. "Thank you [JLG]," she said in her post. "And thank you Sally Morgridge at Holiday House Books for your vision and support. And [Olivia Aserr] — your art our little book come alive! [Nadia] and I are so thankful that you agreed to work on this book with us."
The selection comes ahead of the book’s publication later this year, and just a few short weeks after its cover was revealed. Read on to learn more about the book’s description from its publisher, Penguin Random House.
A sweet and playful picture book about a common Arabic word for life’s uncertainties that will ring true for all families.
Ranya wants to go to the park. “Insha’Allah,” her mom tells her.
But doesn’t that just mean no? Ranya’s mom says “Insha’Allah” when Ranya asks to make cookies. She says it when Ranya wants to sleep over at Jayda’s house. She says it when Ranya begs to go to Disneyland.
This might sound familiar to parents and caregivers . . . It’s hard to know what to say when you can’t promise anything! Sometimes grown-ups say “Maybe” or “We’ll see.” And in millions of Arab and Muslim homes around the world, families use the phrase “Insha’Allah” when talking about the future.
So, what does “Insha’Allah” really mean? In this warmly illustrated picture book, Ranya and her mom tackle the meaning of the powerful phrase and ponder the best way to talk about their hopes and dreams—and maybe, sometimes, the things they want to put off. (Like cleaning up toys!)
Cozy art and joyful, loving characters make this a perfect family read aloud.
Rhonda Roumani is a Syrian American journalist who has written about Islam, the Arab world and Muslim American issues for more than two decades. She is the author of the middle grade novel “Tagging Freedom” and picture book “Umm Kulthum: Star of the East.” Visit her at her website.
Nadia Roumani is a social entrepreneur, coach, consultant and co-founder of the University of Southern California's American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and Stanford University's Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative. She is also a Senior Designer with Stanford University's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.
Olivia Aserr is the half Egyptian, half Irish American illustrator of “A Mermaid Girl” by Sana Rafi and “Mama in Congress: Rashida Tlaib's Journey to Washington” by Rashida Tlaib and Miranda Paul. She works as a background painter at Disney Television Animation, and enjoys swing dance and costume making in her free time. Aserr lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Bonnibel. Visit her at her website.
“Insha'allah, No, Maybe So” will publish May 14, 2024. Preorder your copy at the link below.