Mommy, am I a ....? by Anila Ali, Karen Gottlieb

Mommy, am I a ....? by Anila Ali, Karen Gottlieb

Aisha liked going to school. She liked her third-grade teacher. She enjoyed working on class projects. One day, all that changed. Aisha couldn't believe what she was hearing. How could this be? What had she done? How could this be happening to her? Follow in Aisha's footsteps and discover how one incident changed the lives of many. You may even see yourself in this young girl's simple tale.

Mommy, am I a...?
Mommy, am I a...? is a relevant, factual story based on personal experience. It reflects the tenor of the culture in which we live and strives to promote cultural understanding and tolerance.

Anila Ali resides in an integrated and culturally diverse city in southern California, where most of the residents are professionals. Both she and her daughter have been subjected to incidents of name-calling. She believes that if this could take place and affect Muslim students in California, imagine what must be going on in rural America, in places like Dearborn, Michigan, with huge Muslim immigrant populations.

After the September 11th attacks, Anila shared these experiences with her Jewish colleague, Karen Gottlieb, who is also her mentor. For years, the two have been teaching together in a southern California school district. Though two totally different people, one Muslim, the other a Jew, neither ever felt uneasy. In fact, they have held one another's hand in countless times of need. That was the motivation for the book - to show how people of different backgrounds can come together in harmony and understanding and in the spirit of humanity.

Anila thought about other Muslims who were being targeted and how they must be feeling. In addition, students in her class were being targeted for being Arab Muslim and that was just not acceptable. When she shared these incidents with Karen, the immediate response was "if we can be so different yet so similar, then we can teach others to be more accepting. We do so much work as teachers with the concepts of prejudice and tolerance through the study of the experience of Anne Frank, it's time we start a dialogue for children about being a Muslim in today's multicultural America." The illustrator of the book is also a fellow teacher and was more than willing to contribute her artistic talents because she saw the need for a book dealing with this simmering issue. Thus Marian Seiders joined the project.

Though a children's book, Mommy, am I a ...? was written to challenge us all to examine our thoughts and actions. "Follow in Aisha's footsteps and discover how one incident changed the lives of so many. You may even see yourself in this young girl's simple tale..."

Anila Ali
Karen Gottlieb
Marian Seiders

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