Siblings Bond in Saadia Faruqi’s Debut Graphic Novel “Saving Sunshine”

Through the shared experience of rehabilitating a turtle, twins Zara and Zeesh learn to appreciate each other's interests. The story delves into their history, their parents' immigration journey, and their shared experiences with Islamophobia.

Siblings Bond in Saadia Faruqi’s Debut Graphic Novel “Saving Sunshine”
The graphic novel tells a beautiful, realistic and important story focusing on family and sibling bonds.

Saadia Faruqi has teamed up with illustrator Shazleen Khan to publish her first graphic novel, “Saving Sunshine.”

“Saving Sunshine” follows twins Zara and Zeeshan Aziz, who are on a trip with their parents to Key West. Their interests differ — Zara loves nature, while Zeesh is passionate about space. Forced to stick together without their phones, the two bond over helping a sick turtle, Sunshine. Through shared experiences, Zara and Zeesh learn to appreciate each other's interests. The story delves into their history, their parents' immigration journey, and their experiences with Islamophobia and racism. With engaging illustrations, this book beautifully highlights the siblings' strong bond, making it a significant story about family.

Here’s the book’s summary from the publisher’s website:

From Saadia Faruqi and Shazleen Khan comes a relatable, funny, and heart-wrenchingly honest graphic novel about Muslim American siblings who must learn how to stop fighting and support each other in a world that is often unkind.
It's hard enough being a kid without being teased for a funny sounding name or wearing a hijab.
It's even harder when you're constantly fighting your sibling—and Zara and Zeeshan really can't stand each other. During a family trip to Florida, when the bickering, shoving, and insults reach new heights of chaos, their parents sentence them to the worst possible fate— each other’s company! But when the twins find an ailing turtle, it presents a rare opportunity for teamwork—if the two can put their differences aside at last.

Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American author and interfaith activist. She writes the popular children’s early reader series “Yasmin,” and other books for children, including chapter books, graphic novels and picture books. Her middle grade novels include “A Place At The Table” co-written with Laura Shovan (a Sydney Taylor Notable 2021), "A Thousand Questions" (a South Asia Book Award Honor 2021) and "Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero." Faruqi is editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret, a magazine for Muslim art, poetry and prose, and was featured in Oprah Magazine in 2017 as a woman making a difference in her community. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and children (via Faruqi’s website). Fann previously interviewed Faruqi as part of our “Fall Into Reading” series.

Shazleen Khan is a London based illustrator, writer and designer, specializing in narrative and sequential illustration. Khan began self publishing their graphic novel work in 2011 and has since gone on to achieve a First Class bachelor’s degree in illustration (2017) and a master’s degree in children’s books and graphic novels (2018). They currently work as a freelance illustrator while doing part-time teaching work. Khan’s comics work has been published by BHP, 404 Ink, Khidre Comix Lab, Sweatdrop Studios, Neo Magazine, MCM Comicon, Edinburgh University and Postscript Magazine (via Khan’s website).

“Saving Sunshine” is available now wherever books are sold.