I want to share two good news:
I felt surprised when I received this email from my publisher. It made me so happy. I want to share the attachment with my readers to spread the happiness.
It is a free coloring page for the children.
ENJOY COLORING IN THIS PICTURE
“Charming cautionary tales from a tradition rich in storytelling …”
Twins from Exhortation Valley: Some people wish to have everything in life, and this is what Sara wanted – just everything in life. Some people always envy what others have. They see themselves in the reflection of other people. Saira envied what her twin had and ignored her blessings. Fate took the twins to Exhortation Valley to make them realize what happens when we get everything in life and lose the blessings that we already have.
A Peculiar and Rackety child: Abdul Jalil is a boy eager to try out different things. He sets out to experience everything. Things go well until he deviates from his mission in life and he ends up in a mess. Trying to find a way out, at last, he finds that in life ‘being human is being everything.’
An amazing family’s holiday adventure: This family arranges a holiday game with a difference. Stepping into the shoes of their parents, the children’s role-playing game opens their eyes to the difficulties of being a parent.
To get the printable click:
I am so happy to share my big achievement with you. This is the cover reveal for my first traditionally published children book that is arriving soon.
I hope you will like it. Together we can celebrate and promote the diversity in the children books.
Name: Tales from the Treasure Chest
Genre: Middle-grade fiction
Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing USA
Writer: Ayesha Marfani
Illustrator: Maryam Ayub
Publication Date: last Tuesday of July
Note: Those who are interested in reviewing are welcomed.
Those who want to preorder must comment.
I hate socializing.
Stepping into the party with a sheepish grin, I wished for a vanishing cloak. Oh, to have been able to evaporate into thin air. Mama said that, as a growing young lady, I must become more social. But it’s scary to see every eye in the room fixate on you, gauging you, whispering judgments behind their hands.
All the girls there were beautiful, some with their long hair loose, some with soft curls. A few had upswept buns, their stylish bangs framing their eyes. I eyed them, smiling when one of the ladies approached and said,
“Hi. Who are you, pretty girl?”
Pretty. I felt a lump in my throat. I thought I was good looking, but not pretty enough to be noticed immediately. I loved this and pointed to my mother with a smile.
“Oh, Sara, you have such a pretty daughter.” She commented. Touching my cheeks, she added,
“You would have looked nicer if you would have let your hair loose.”
To be more comfortable that night, I had tied my hair in a simple braid. Until the end of the party, I imagined myself with my veil of hair loose and hanging down to my waist.
At the next social event, I entered with my long hair falling free. Many eyes admired me and I love the feeling. I got many compliments, yet one of them said that some soft low curls would have made my look more gorgeous.
After this, two thoughts disturbed my mind. Was my hair truly fixed properly and how would soft curls look on me? I took to changing things.
When the next party night came, I entered with soft curls feeling extremely conscious. I had fought with my siblings when their hands had accidentally touched my hair, as I’d wanted to be perfect. Again, many admired me that night, yet one said,
“You are so beautiful yet a little style would make you more gorgeous.”
“Style? What style?” I asked her.
“A haircut in layers with bangs would make you look so adorable.”
My worries increased threefold. I remained preoccupied about my hair being loose, with curls and now styling it with bangs and layers.
The next day, my mother was horrified with my desire to change. She said fashionable cuts ruined the natural beauty and health of the hair. But the thought of looking more gorgeous drove me to ignore her advice and I got my layers and bangs.
When my friend’s bridal shower came, after much time fussing and preparing myself, I entered with my new style. I anticipated a lot of impressed looks and was noticed almost immediately. A friend commented,
“Oh, you look astounding with your new cut, but…” I cut her off.
“Your dress is a bit old fashioned and doesn’t really match your new hairstyle.” I went home that night with even more worries.
Needing an immediate fix of my wardrobe, I spent a ton on laces and frills, spending many late nights researching the latest styles online. I spent a lot of energy making a seamstress understand the details of the gracious style I needed.
When all was ready for the next party, I entered stressed and concerned to the point of distraction. I wanted to look the best and be the lady of the evening. I came in worrying that my frilled and netted gown stay perfect that I couldn’t even enjoy the stares of the party goers. I concentrated moving gracefully to please everyone that I couldn’t participate in any conversation.
In my mind, I took in the glamor and attention feeling confident that no-one could have any suggestion as to how my style and hair could be any more perfect. Then, while faking in front of a lady, a soft touch landed on my shoulder.
Turning, I saw my beloved school friend, Zunaira. She stood simple, yet her beauty seemed glorious and shining to me. My gaze settled on her innocent face.
“I couldn’t recognize you at first! You have changed so much in the last year.” She said to me.
“You looked beautiful, but…”
I sighed. I let dear Zunaira continue.
“But you looked prettier before, at least to me. I loved your simple style. It made you so different from my other friends. You don’t seem as comfortable this way.”
We were interrupted then and she left, yet I caught my reflection in the wall mirror as she walked away. Tears burned behind my smiling eyes, as Zunaira had cut to my core with her simple words. I didn’t like what I’d been doing. I constantly worried about my looks to the point of always feeling shaky, never truly confident. I disliked being so desperate to please others.From that night on, I left behind the changes I’d made. I became a social solitaire. You’ve seen them; they are part of all the social activities, yet their solitaire personality stands out. They are totally comfortable being themselves. Being happy with myself became my priority. And the weight of pleasing others left my shoulders, where my simple braid now happily rests.
I thought I am gifted in all ways and am empathetic, smart, genius, loving. I believed I have superfluous traits and striking beauty. The mirror showed me black hairs with soft curls falling below my waist, glowing hazel brown skin and large eyes with curled lashes. My dimpled smile makes me appear more beautiful.
I had a lot of complaints with everyone. These complaints never left me. I sat with Tooba and Maham and discussed how the world is going nuts. I felt depressed on seeing people doing wrong and communicated my thoughts about others openly. I discussed the weird dressing, diminishing morals and hypocrisy.
I couldn’t tolerate wrong, whenever I saw someone in need, I extended my help graciously. On 23rd November, I confronted Saba and Sara who had a fight. I brought them together in front of a bunch of kids and told them what a shame it was to behave like this. I frequently complained about my teachers to the principal when they were a bit laid back. I wouldn’t tolerate the misdoings of my siblings.
This made people avoid me, but I was happy as I did well and was just a perfect kid. There were only two people I liked, Tooba and Maham. They were my only friends. They agreed with whatever I said and seconded me in my social improvement cause.
Every day I told many people about their misdoings and how to seed goodness in themselves. I gave them my examples.
That evening it was raining, I called my two groupies and got ready. My mom said it’s not okay to go in the rain in the evening.”
I replied, “Mom I can take better care of myself, and you know how cautious I am, you need not worry.”
I went out to enjoy the rain. On my way, I commented on people on moving bizarrely; I said, “Look how arrogant people are, they do not cherish the creators blessing.”
I taunted on their clothes and even commented on the ways people enjoyed themselves in the rain. We reached the opening of a vast forest, and we decided to hang over in there so that we may distance ourselves from the foolishness of people around us.
The beauty seemed perfect. The greenish colors looked bright and vibrant. The chirps sounded beautiful. The flowers appeared dressed up for the party. I laughed and said, “Today the forest looks glorious like me.”
Both my groupies eyed me, and I saw the admiration in their eyes. I giggled, and we played.
We rested, and then my eyes caught a weird thing, which I never encountered in the forest before. It read ‘shadow valley.’ Mystified, I asked my groupies to explain to me what this thing was. They saw the tunnel like opening with awe. I sensed the fright in them and felt the same, yet I acted like a brave soul.
I walked towards the opening. On the door following words were engraved:
Fulfill the wish of seeing your true beauty and real worth. Since ancient times man desire to know their real worth and beauty but very few have the chance of entering the shadow valley. It has a fantastic invisible mirror that reflects your true self. Enter in it and bewilder yourself.
I smiled and thought, I am perfect, and I may be among the most beautiful and worthy creatures on mother earth. I stepped in confidently and saw my groupies shaking unwilling to move. They were indecisive, but I voiced, “Don’t be stubborn, let’s see the real beauty.”
Inside it was dark and damp. I walked and heard the thudding sound of my shoes. A sharp blue light replaced the darkness making us unable to see.
When we were able to see, I saw an opening with the dancing alphabet ‘Shadows of reflection.’
I entered and saw nothing. I laughed saying, “No mirrors. Who will show us our true self?”
Just then I heard an ugly sound saying, “me.”
I turned to face the sound and stood motionless. I saw three dark shadowed creatures. They looked horrible, reshaped and ugly with a striking resemblance to my friends and me. They had our height, our features yet their dark color and tightly shut lips and coldness in eyes made them look so evil.
I shouted gathering my courage, “who are you?”
The shadows replied in harsh sound “We are your inner self, don’t you think we are perfect and beautiful, ready to help everyone.”
“No, I am not as ugly as you,” I backed tangling in my friends who always stood behind me. I stood up and ran and heard a lot of footsteps behind me. I turned back and saw my friends and the shadows running and saying, “We will become your face, we will become your face.”
I woke up shouting. I jumped from my bed and saw my features in the mirror. They stood the same, beautiful and mesmerizing. Behind them, I could sense the arrogance and superiority complex. I went back to my bed as I knew my true beauty.
I cried for many days, with the shadows not leaving my mind.
That day, I saw my cousin coming in. She stood beside me saying, “Amina you look glorious in any form.” I went to her and touching her puffed cheeks said, “You look adorable as well.”
She eyed me surprised as I always told her how her slightly increased weight is spoiling her beauty. She voiced, “Are you sure, do I look beautiful?”
I smiled and answered, “You look adorable.”
She smiled sweetly at me, and I knew how I could get rid of the vision of shadow that wasn’t leaving me.