Yesterday I was part of a group of children’s authors who met on Zoom to learn how to bake bread from Harriet Zaidman. Harriet is the author of several picture books as well as the middle-grade novel City on Strike recently nominated for the 2020 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction. Harriet shares her recipes and her culinary expertise on her blog North End Nosh.
I had never baked bread before and neither had several of the other authors in our group. But under Harriet’s expert guidance we all managed to produce three kinds of delicious bread before our baking session was over.
We baked artisan bread first, then plain white bread and finally, we learned how to make challah a bread whose name comes from the Hebrew language. We needed a little help from Harriet to learn how to pronounce “challah” just right.
Our group included Anita Daher whose fourteenth novel You Don’t Have to Die in the End was recently nominated for the 2021 White Pine award, Gabriele Goldstone author of Red Stone and Broken Stone who has a new novel coming out with Ronsdale Press in 2021, Pat Trottier whose book Relationships Make the Difference was published by Pembroke andaward-winning authorColleen Nelsonwho has a long list of books to her credit including this year’s Teaching Mrs Muddle and Harvey Holds His Own both from Pajama Press.
As we baked we chatted about our current works in progress, the state of the publishing world during a pandemic and events in our personal lives. Colleen interrupted our conversation at one point to announce the final results of the American election and that of course generated lots of discussion.
It was a great day and in the end, a group of children’s authors had become a group of accomplished bakers. Thanks so much, Harriet!
I just finished reading Sadia by Winnipeg author Colleen Nelson. It is a novel about a young Muslim woman facing the pressures most teens do as they deal with friends, faith, family, school work, extracurricular activities and their first romantic feelings. There were many ways I connected with the book.
It is set in my home city. Although Sadia’s family is from Damascus in Syria they have immigrated to Winnipeg where her Dad is a professor at the University of Manitoba and her Mom works at the Millennium Library. I liked coming across familiar places in the novel.
Sadia, a grade nine student, is crazy about basketball. I was a die-hard fan when both of my sons played basketball in junior high and high school. I could understand Sadia’s devotion to the game.
I loved the photography assignment Sadia’s teacher Mr.Letner gave his class. When I taught high school journalism I did a unit on photography and Mr Letner shows his students some of the same award-winning photos I used in my teaching.
I am a big fan of Nadia Kidwai the CBC radio morning weekend host. She has such a warm way with her guests and listeners. Nadia acted as a consultant for this book. Sadia the main character wears a hijab and so does Nadia.
Author Colleen Nelson, a Winnipeg teacher, says she wrote Sadia at the request of a Muslim student who was disappointed there were so few novels with Muslim young women as the protagonists.
Another book I have read that has a Muslim young woman as the main character is Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali. It is however directed more towards an older adolescent audience while I think Sadia might be enjoyed more by younger teens.
I learned more about the war in Syria from reading this book.