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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Jul 11, 2018

So many people dream of being a children’s author, yet few take the plunge. Of those who do, far fewer decide the way to go is writing about a Muslim Somali girl and her family. Of the remainder, how many get national newspaper and CBC radio coverage? To my knowledge, only one, and she’s my guest today for the amazing success of her debut book, Muhiima’s Quest.

Rahma Rodaah came to Canada with her family from Somalia when she was eight years old. She’s lived in Quebec and Ottawa, and she now lives in Edmonton. Her path to children’s authorship was far from obvious: her degree is in international business, and she works for the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Community and Social Services in Social Work and Income Support. While she grew up loving Anne of Green Gables, after she became a mother she grew concerned that most images aimed at girls pushed European standards of beauty, and no stories she could find embraced either her Somali heritage or Islamic faith. And taking a page from her business education, she saw a need and decided to fill that need herself.

The result was Muhiima’s Quest, illustrated by Daria Horb, the indie-published story about ten-year-old Muhiima and her delightful birthday bicycle adventure of self-discovery.  After coverage on Omni TV’s Somali programme, the story of Muhiima’s Quest went national in the pages of the Toronto Star. Now a traditional publisher is courting Rodaah, and her second book, Little Brother for Sale, is already complete and just about to debut.

I spoke with Rahma Rodaah on June 26, 2018 at Simply Done Café in Edmonton’s Gallery District. We discussed: 

  • How she fell in love with reading, which Can-Lit classic was her early favourite, and why she knew that could never be enough for her own children
  • The challenges of finding the right illustrator for her book about a Somali-Canadian Muslim girl
  • The multiple meanings of hijab and the role it plays in Muhiima’s Quest
  • And how Rodaah achieved national arts coverage for her indie-published debut book

 

RahmaRodaah.com

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