New novel shines positive light on Islamic culture
IN the wake of the tragic events in Christchurch, it is more important than ever to shine a positive light on Islamic culture.
So says local author Melati Lum, who is about to launch her second children's novel with a Muslim teen as the star of the story.
"I wanted Muslim children to see themselves as a main character as we are always bombarded with the negative," Lum says of her novel Ayesha Dean - The Seville Secret, a sequel to her 2016 release Ayesha Dean - The Istanbul Intrigue.
"This can make Muslim children feel as if they're on the outer and see themselves as restricted in books and literature."
Lum, 40, who also works as a criminal lawyer, hopes, particularly in light of the New Zealand attack, giving children an opportunity to read about diverse characters will "open up a whole new world of reading experiences".
"Racism has to be tackled at an even level and one way is to educate our children, so that more children are exposed to stories like these," she says.
"I hope that the book will help to build understanding and empathy between children of diverse cultures and religious backgrounds in Australia."
The novel tells the story of Ayesha Dean, an Australian Muslim teenager who travels to Seville with her best mates, Jess and Sarah, and gets pulled into a mystery linked to the history of the Spanish city.
"Ayesha is a brave, compassionate heroine who just happens to be a Muslim, which is what many of the teachers and children who've read the first book have come away with," says Lum, herself a Muslim.
Ayesha Dean - The Seville Secret will be launched at Burnside Library on Tuesday, April 17, 2.15pm-3.15pm.
See melatilum.com.au for more information.