To celebrate International Literacy Day this year, I made a trip to Seattle to visit their incredible public library. I instantly fell in love – from the rotary phone with stories of community sourced book reviews, to the incredible gift shop, to the multiple copies of hot new releases available through the Peak Reads program, to the beautiful garden theme and the stunning architecture, there was so much about the space and building that captivated my attention and inspired my heart. The visit felt especially meaningful because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about storytelling, who tells stories, how we recognise that we have stories worth telling, what it means to hear empowering narratives and and how feeling seen and represented impacts us.
More specifically, I’ve been thinking about storytelling because I’ve been thinking about Mark Gonzales new book called “Yo Soy Muslim” which is a letter of a father speaking to his daughter. I haven’t read the book as yet, but from what I can tell, it is a book that is about courage, doing good, recognising who you are, and what it means to be connected to Your Creator and other people.
In particular, the passage below brought me to tears when I read it.
Dear little one
Know you are wondrous
A child of crescent moons
a builder of mosques
a descendant of brilliance
an ancestor in training.
The passage made me want to be fierce but gentle, rooted but flexible and committed to bloom where I am planted regardless of the elements. It made me want to be gritty like a sunflower. (I’ve been taking care of my husband’s plants while he’s been away from Hajj, and I’ve been amazed and astonished at how resilient and determined to fight for survival they are. Just when I think they are dead and have been beaten by challenging elements, they revive and bloom).
The same day that I read about Mark Gonzales new book, I heard an episode of the podcast Accidental Muslim that featured an interview with author Shubnum Khan, where she spoke about building cultures of gratitude, reading as a path to help you write and want to write, writing as a means to connect to one another, and so much more.
Literacy day, storytelling, these moments and and more are the topic of the latest Seriously Planning podcast episode below. Do listen, subscribe, share and comment below about what you’re reading this September. I’d love to hear from you.