Dear Pakistani Authors & Illustrators

Dear Authors/Illustrators/Publishers and Book People

I can not stress enough the need for quality books about Pakistan. Alhumdulillah now there are many books on Eid and Ramadan and religious topics inclusive of Pakistani characters (which is amazing and should be continued!). We also need to focus on everyday topics. 

As a parent, I wanted to share a few ideas that I would love to be seen as books for the future generations. (see photos)

We need to stop letting others write our stories and take control of our own narratives.

Also as a side note, these stories I imagine them to be illustrated by proper Pakistani illustrators. The bar has been raised and as harsh as it sounds please don’t make stick figures in children’s picture books. And PLEASE use the help of an editor for checking spelling/grammar and fact check all your statements. There are many stories that I won’t buy simply because the illustrations are poor and don’t hold my attention let alone a child’s. So if you are an author, PLEASE work with an illustrator. 

Please tag any author/illustrator you think this post would be helpful for. Please add more ideas you would love to see in kidlit.

Ideas:

  • Pakistan food street in Lahore. Be specific. Name names of streets. Maybe a restaurant that’s been there since forever. 
  • A story about a child going to liberty books or ferozesons (or other bookstores that have been there for years) to buy a book where they have so many book genres to choose from. And in the end the child picks up a story about space, science, dinosaur, pretty much anything!
  • Architecture – I love love love the red brick buildings in Lahore. I would love to see a kids story about a child going through the heritage buildings and dreaming/thinking about how it would be like during the Mughal empire. A brief intro to the Mughal history and heritage could be included
  • A bazaar story about the 8 bazaar in Faisalabad, where a child has to buy something for his friends and could be a great visual treat to see various stores! Stores with bangles or high end jewelry stores, stores with khussas, Like how COLORFUL are Jhaal stores
  • I would buy a picture book on khussas immediately! A story about a child shopping for that perfect Eid khussa and it can showcase like 10 different types of khussas. From traditional cut work to the funky ones now available. 
  • A story with Bata where the child wants cool shoes but their parents want to go to Bata. 
  • A story about a hot summer day in Multan and a child is just waiting for Ice cream truck selling cornetto and he can’t decide which ice cream to get. You can casually put in some of the gorgeous architecture in the illustrations! 
  • Pakistan truck art. Need I say more. Just the graphics of that book would be amazing! Could be a story on driving safety. 
  • A story about a child coming from abroad and has to go to a random (BUT SPECIFIC) village. They can travel by plane, train, bus, van, ricksha or chinkchi and even a tanga. 
  • A grandfather telling their kids about taking the tanga and old style fairs on Eid. 
  • A story about a colorful rickshaw who loves taking kids to different places. Could be specific to Quetta and the rickshaw talks about its days of dropping kids and families off to various specific streets. 
  • A story about eating chapli Kebab in Peshawar. 
  • A child goes to the agriculture university to learn about plants. A good science aspect because Pakistan is very advanced in botany. 
  • How is there not a picture book with the Shangrila resort in skardu and the skiing resorts at Malam Jabba??? In the illustrations I would love to see a niqabi woman in an abaya and long winter coat skiing because I know one of them!!!
  • A story that includes how soccer balls are made for the whole world in Sialkot. 
  • A story about gol gapas. How a child just loves gol gapai and the story could be about how to make a gol gapai.
  • Being a Pakistani and travel enthusiast I still know very little about Balochistan, imagine how much others know. 
  • A book about the National park in Sindh
  • An environment clean up story on the beach of Karachi
  • Have you people seen the gorgeous beauty of Balochistan beaches. How amazing would that be illustrated in rich artwork! A regular beach story about a child maybe making a sandcastle/house but with illustrations of people in ethnic clothes enjoying the beach.
  • There’s a new novel out about climbing K2. K2 itself is such an amazing topic. Could have a child dreaming about becoming a mountain climber and climb various peaks around the world. Such a great way to introduce mountain ranges to children 
  • Ajrak and rilli and the fabrics of Pakistan!!! How are there no stories about Pakistani clothes?? This would require talented illustrators to pull it off and I have seen MANY Pakistani illustrators have blown me away with their art work. 
  • A train ride through Pakistan from Sahiwal to Hyderabad highlighting the train stops on the way, the bottle walas, the vendors on the side, the views from the windows of lush green farms. 
  • A child’s trip to a remote village, and name the village. Not some generic village. A simple story about the animals on the farm or playing in a tube well. Or an entire story about just getting ganai ka ras with some science thrown in on how sugar canes give us sugar and other things and all the Pakistani things we make from sugar canes. 
  • A book about natural disasters in Pakistan and coping skills for children. (I do know of a few but they are so poorly illustrated I wouldn’t buy them.) 
  • For a country who loves cricket there are extremely limited books on the topic, mostly encyclopedias covering British teams in depth and disproportionately limiting the Pakistani players to a few pages of superficial information. How are there no picture books on kids playing cricket or mini biographies for kids about Pakistani Cricketers? 
  • A fun story about a field trip to Harappa inclusive of some authentic historical facts. 
  • Stories about Mohenjadaroo ( PLEASE make sure it’s properly researched!!) because what’s worse than no book is A book with factual errors/misrepresentation 
  • Trip to Sauiful muluk or all the way to gilgit baltistan. 
  • A trip to Kashmir 
  • A school trip to Murree with all the gondola rides and you could include the hawkers trying to get you to pop balloons. 
  • Just an architectural trip around Pakistan. Like an ABC of Pakistani Architecture 
  • An ABC of Pakistani food. 
  • A story about coins and how you could buy candy for chaar aana at the local store and now it’s all about credit cards and shopping online. That’s a fun history/tribute to Pakistani money related story theme. 
  • A story about Animals indigenous to Pakistan. Oh a fun story about the markoh where it just wants to climb and eat (this is why I’m not an author) but a creative animal story
  • About 10 years ago I went to Kashmir with my friend, and when the lights went out in the whole tiny town on a night with no moon, I have never seen the sky look so beautiful. And because we slept outside on charpais I literally fell asleep just gazing at the stars. Here in the US we plan on going to dark sky parks specially for that view. You can add the message on how Allah made the skys to look so pretty. I would love a story about a muslim kid learning about stars and the different constellations with a backdrop of Pakistan. Or about a kid’s trip to a busy day through the streets in northern Pakistan and just falling asleep under the stars.

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