When I read MUSLIM GIRLS RISE, I couldn’t wait to ask Saira Mir about her book and her writing journey. The book features 19 inspiring stories of persistence and the power to create meaningful change in the world. It combines clear and lovely text with bright and bold illustrations by Aaliya Jaleel. Saira does an incredible job of showing the challenging circumstances of each woman and how they overcome and make the world a better place. Welcome, Saira, to Writer’s Rumpus!
Kirsti Call: Your book, MUSLIM GIRLS RISE, is a lovely tribute to Muslim girls who have made a difference in the world. What inspired you to write the book?
Saira Mir: My daughter. She was entering Kindergarten in an exceptionally tumultuous time for American Muslims. As she was leaving the safety of the nest, I focused on building her sense of pride by sharing stories of my role models. Our story time gave rise to the idea for the book.
KC: How did you choose which girls to highlight in your book?
SM: Growing up I didn’t have Muslim female role models in the public eye. Much of my childhood I felt like an outsider. This feeling carried into adulthood, so that when Muslim women make the news, I take immediate notice. The women in the book reflect the years of stories that have personally inspired me.
KC: What did you learn from your research for this book?
SM: Many women had very different trajectories before their calling. It’s reassuring that when life is not going as planned, an incredible, defining moment may lie around the corner. Also people are much more resilient and capable than they could ever imagine.
KC: What else are you working on?
SM: My current projects are reflecting on my family’s journey through loss and healing with love. Also with my background in obstetrics and gynecology, I love exploring how to empower children with medical knowledge.
KC: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
JC: Trust your inner voice. Take in all feedback available, but remember where and why your vision began.
KC: Thank you for visiting Writer’ Rumpus, Saira!
Saira is a Muslim physician, mother and author. She loves teaching and learning at the hospital and at home. She spends most of her free time at the library or playground with her kids. Her debut children’s book MUSLIM GIRLS RISE was born from her daughters desire for relatable Muslim role models. She lives in the D.C. metro area.