by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos
Simerg’s series entitled “Books by Ismaili Authors” continues with Canadian writer Nargis Fazal’s book “Coughdrops”. We follow the same Q/A format as our recent presentations of books written by 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?
Nargis Fazal: Baby Koala is the main character of my book. He is named “Coughdrops” because he smells like the Eucalyptus trees that he lives on and feeds from.
Simerg: Why would you want me or my family members to read the book, and what will we all learn from it?
Nargis: The adventures of curious baby koala will delight you and the beautiful illustrations will fill you with utter joy. This is a great book to read with your children and grandchildren! They will ask for repeats! The learning themes include (a) Safety and Responsibility; (b) Friendships and Feelings; (c) Parental and Familial Bonding, Love, and Care; (d) Kindness and Compassion for all Creatures; and (e) Australia’s Flora and Fauna.
Kids will be pleasantly surprised to discover new tiny creatures entering the various scenes in this book. This book can be a great resource not only for the parents and families but also for Early Childhood Educators. It can be used to impart knowledge across many learning themes, especially safety for children which is paramount. Coughdrops fits in very well with a multicultural, pluralistic curriculum for young children.
Simerg: What inspired you to write the book?
Nargis: I wrote this book as a part of my assignment for my course as an Early Childhood Educator in 1988. I had printed the whole story by hand as well as illustrated it myself. I used it throughout my career with diverse groups of children. The kids and their families simply loved it. This inspired me to publish it so all children could enjoy it! As an Early Years Professional I wanted to leave a legacy not only for my own children and grandchildren but also for all the future generations to come.
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Simerg: How can I purchase the book and what are its available formats?
Nargis: Coughdrops is available in hardcover as well as soft cover from Blurb. You can also purchase it from me by writing to me. Please visit my website www.nargisfazal.com.
Simerg: How did you find a publisher for the book?
Nargis: My son Rahim who lives in San Francisco recommended Blurb.
Simerg: Did you hire an editor, an illustrator or did you do all the work by yourself?
Nargis: My daughter Noorin who has a Masters in Teaching edited my manuscript. Through “99 Designs” (Rahim’s find) I was able to choose the illustrator. Her name is Marija Stojkovic. She lives in Lescovac, Serbia. She works as a freelance stage designer, graphic designer and illustrator.
Simerg: Which was your first book and how many have you written?
Nargis: Coughdrops is my first book. I have just finished writing the final manuscript for my second book which will be published soon.
Simerg: How long did it take you to write Coughdrops — from start to finish and to begin marketing it?
Nargis: It took me a year to write the final manuscript and work with the illustrator Marija to get the pictures done. It took a couple of more months to get the printed version ready.
Simerg: Tell us something more about the book and its main character.
Nargis: Curious baby Koala lives in his mother’s pouch. He wonders what lies beyond the patch of eucalyptus trees where he was born. So he sneaks away to explore the world around him. As he scampers further and further away from home he meets many amazing creatures for the first time in his life. He experiences various feelings and emotions. Some situations terrify him and make him fear for his wellbeing and safety. Little koala realizes he is lost! How will he return home? Will he see his mother again soon?
In this delightfully illustrated story, read about curious koala’s Big Adventures. Bring along your critical thinking skills and join Coughdrops on his journey of growth and development.
Date posted: June 12, 2021.
Nargis Fazal was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She spent much of her young adulthood in the United Kingdom, where she studied the sciences and worked in Medical Research. In 1981, Nargis and her husband moved to Vancouver, Canada, where their two children were born. Her passion for being actively involved in her children’s development and education inspired her to become an Early Childhood Educator. At present, Nargis is also trained as a Special Needs Educator and a Montessori Practitioner. Her many interests include yoga, reading, meditation, and travelling with her family.
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)
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