Simerg’s series entitled “Books by Ismaili Authors” continues with UK teacher and writer Shairoz Lakhani’s book “Shine Brighter”. We follow the same Q/A format as our presentations of books written by Shelina Shariff Zia, Ali Lakhani, Nizar Sultan, Nargis Fazal, Nazlin Rahemtulla, Azmina Suleman, Alnasir Rajan, Shafeen Ali, Mansoor Ladha, Zeni Shariff and Shamas Nanji. We invite Ismaili authors around the world to participate in this series, regardless of when their books were published. See details of the series HERE and submit your responses to Simerg’s editor, Malik, at Simerg@aol.com.
Simerg: What is behind the naming of the title of the book?
Shairoz Lakhani: “Shine Brighter” is the title of my book. We all originate from one source; we are born with a soul when we come into the physical world. It is important while we are in this physical world to learn the lessons life is giving us. As we learn these lessons — and with Allah’s blessings –we all “Shine Brighter.”
Simerg: Why would you want me or my family members to read the book, and what will we all learn from it?
Shairoz: Shine Brighter is a children’s book with 6 stories that teach children and adults the simple but important values we need in our life. For example some of the stories I have written relate to the importance of peace and joy in life, that sharing is fun, and that we should be positive in life.
Simerg: What inspired you to write the book?
Shairoz: I have been a volunteer teacher for over 10 years and I really enjoy teaching children. Thus, I have been inspired to write stories that will help the children grow with good values. I have noted in my life that many of my ideas come after I have meditated. So this spiritual aspect of my life has inspired me in my work. I would note that Mawlana Hazar Imam talks about good values and ethics, and I also draw my inspiration from him.
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Simerg: How can I purchase the book and what are its available formats?
Shairoz: I have my own website where Shine Brighter’s price is reduced from £14.99 to £9.99 plus £1 postage. The book is available in bookstores and may also be ordered through Amazon websites; for example Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK etc. It is also available as a Kindle edition. I will be happy to sign the book when the book is purchased from me, or if it is brought to me if it was purchased somewhere else.
Simerg: How did you find a publisher for the book?
Shairoz: I did a lot of research and found there were some who were taking manuscripts and some were not.
Simerg: Did you hire an editor, an illustrator or did you do all the work by yourself?
Shairoz: Yes, I have an excellent animator artist. He has done many animations for the cartoon Mr Bean.
Simerg: How long did it take you to write Shine Brighter — from start to finish and to begin marketing it?
Shairoz: It took me about 6-10 months.
Simerg: Tell us something more about your book.
Shairoz: As I have already noted, Shine Brighter is a compilation of 6 stories. There are animal characters in the stories. Children can easily relate to the amazing characters. Each story has valuable lessons that children (and adults) can learn and relate to experiences in their lives.
Date posted: December 8, 2021.
[Parents may wish to buy Shairoz’s beautiful book as a gift for their children or their friends for the auspicious occasion of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 85th birthday or for the coming holiday season. Please visit her website, www.shairozlakhani.com, to place an order. She will send you a signed copy — Ed.]
Shairoz has served as a Baitul Ilm (BUI) teacher with the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for the UK (ITREB) for close to 15 years, and has taught across London, Leicester and France. Her ambition in religious education teaching started at the young age of 17 in Leicester, and she along with other teachers specifically taught nursery students on Friday evenings in Leicester.
On a day-to-day basis, Shairoz describes herself as “an author and a mum.” In 2019, she launched her first children’s book called “Shine Brighter.” She notes that the book can equally be a good read for the older age group and even parents who are working towards embedding and nurturing good values in their children.
“Shine Brighter” is all about life lessons — it is about trust, being true to yourself, nurturing friendship and brotherhood as well as helping each other and making the world a happy place for everyone. Shairoz believes these core values are incredibly important in today’s world.
Shairoz uses stories as a tool to invite a dialogue between children, parents and the wider community. She believes stories provide the best medium to share knowledge and wisdom with children. Her book is not just for Ismaili Muslim children. She wants to reach out to the children globally to collectively make the world prosperous for everyone.
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Calling all Ismaili Authors
We encourage Ismaili writers to introduce their books in a similar format as has been done in the post above. Please also see the series launch article and submit your responses to Malik at Simerg@aol.com. All submissions will be acknowledged. If a writer has published multiple books, each book will be highlighted in a separate article, and not combined with other books into one post. All writers should include a brief profile with a portrait photo.
The Ismaili Authors’ Series so far (in chronological sequence, oldest article first):
- “Justice Bertha Wilson Pushes the Boundaries of Humanity” by Shamas Nanji (series start, February 10, 2021)
- “Little One, You Are The Universe” by Zeni Shariff (February 25, 2021)
- “Memoirs of a Muhindi” by Mansoor Ladha (March 6, 2021)
- “To Be One With God: Seven Journeys to the Meaning of Life” by Shafeen Ali (March 25, 2021)
- “Invisible Birthmarks” by Alnasir Rajan (April 13, 2021)
- “IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE – Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge” by Azmina Suleman (April 28, 2021)
- “RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty” by Nazlin Rahemtulla (May 28, 2021)
- “Coughdrops” by Nargis Fazal (June 12, 2021)
- “The Roots and the Trees” by Nizar Sultan (June 25, 2021)
- “Faith and Ethics: The Vision of the Ismaili Imamat” by M. Ali Lakhani (July 4, 2021)
- “Nairobi Days by Shelina_Shariff Zia (July 21, 2021)
- “Shine Brighter” by Shairoz Lakhani (December 8, 2021).
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