Like so many other writers, I grew up with my nose in a book. My mother believed children should be seen reading and not heard whining about boredom, and regularly took us to the Rockville Public Library with grocery bags to fill with books. Along with grabbing new titles each visit, I often chose the same ones over and over again. And I reread treasured personal copies of my favorites until they fell apart.
The books I connected with as a child left a bigger impression on me than almost anything I come across today. I still think of the characters, stories, random facts and tidbits that I absorbed years ago. That’s why I love writing for kids—in the hopes that they'll pick up something I write more than once, and let it become part of who they are.
Here are a few facts about me: I’m a Pakistani-American Muslim who was born and raised in Maryland, and enjoy sharing and writing about my culture and religion. I've also written about a bunch of other topics, from spies to space travel, that take me out of my reality and on adventures. While not quite as thrilling, I’ve had a few adventures of my own, managed to get to some pretty fantastic places on our planet, and met incredible people. I'm slightly obsessed with Spain, ceramic tiles and pottery, food, flamenco, and good coffee. When I’m not cooking up a story, I’m often actually cooking food or baking treats. I also spend time writing and editing for international organizations that work to improve the health and lives of people around the world.
I’ve been extremely lucky to have a talented editor who encouraged me to write for kids after my elder son was born, as well as lifelong friends who’ve helped shape me into the person I am. Most important, I have two young readers at home who I’m excited to see relish a book, and when impressed, start it over again.