Local News

Khan: Stories ‘build bridges of understanding’

Rukhsana Khan talks to sixth graders at Blatchley Middle School on April 2. Khan is an award-winning children's author. She was born in Pakistan and now lives in Toronto. (KCAW photo by Ed Ronco)

Rukhsana Khan talks to sixth graders at Blatchley Middle School on April 2. Khan is an award-winning children’s author. She was born in Pakistan and now lives in Toronto. (KCAW photo by Ed Ronco)

The children’s author Rukhsana Khan was in Sitka last week. She visited schools across the state as part of the Alaska Spirit of Reading program, where students read an assigned book and then get to meet the author as he or she tours the state. The program is run by Sitka school librarians.

Khan was born in Pakistan and grew up in Canada. Her books include “The Big Red Lollipop,” which was named by the New York Times as one of the top 10 illustrated books of 2010. Her new book, and the one assigned as part of the program, is called “Wanting Mor.” It tells the story of a girl in Afghanistan whose mother dies in the war, and whose father abandons her.

During presentations at Blatchley Middle School last Tuesday, Khan talked about the themes of the book, but also her own upbringing in Canada. She’s Muslim, and says her visits to schools give people a chance to learn about more than her books.

“The biggest reason I love doing this so much is because I think it’s a bit of outreach,” she said. “Especially after Sept. 11, people think Muslims are crazy. And if I can change their mind a little bit, if I can open the door and show them, hey, we’ve got some pretty good stories, and we’re really not like that. The vast majority of Muslims, we’re not crazy like bin Laden. We would never do something like that. We’re just peaceful, law abiding people, and we have funny stories, we have sad stories. I try to use stories to build bridges of understanding.”

After her presentation to a sixth grade class, she sat down in the Blatchley Library for an interview with students Kaia Gleason and Joei Bidad.

Listen to iFriendly audio.

Rukhsana Khan has an official website and keeps a blog.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Youth activists march for respectful, non-violent relationships

04-IMG_5596
Sitka was one of 170 communities that took to the streets today for the Choose Respect March, a statewide effort to end domestic violence and sexual assault. In a 2012 victimization survey conducted in Sitka, 47% of adult women reported experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or both. more

‘Relay for Life’ supports cancer survivors, honors loss

Relay for Life event chair Ellen Ruhle (l.) with 2013 participant Sherie Mayo.
Ellen Ruhle is a two-time cancer survivor and event chair for the 3rd Annual Relay for Life (8PM Sat June 20 - 4 PM Sun June 21, Lower Moller Field). Teams of up to 12 people keep a runner/walker on the track for the entire duration of the event, which honors cancer patients and caregivers. Participants can register online, or sign up at this spring's "Sitka Sue Walk" (8:30 AM Sat Apr 25, Rocky Gutierrez Airport). With American Cancer Society staff partners Tristan Walsh and Courtney Van Ord. Downloadable audio. more