There is always a story behind the story, and, often times, a story running alongside and one just up ahead. Here’s a little history of the story of A Quranic Odyssey:
March 2010: Umm Muhemmed, author, amidst work/family commitments, starts to teach Qur’aan to children, with no intent other than to complete the qaida (Qur’aanic primer), following several experiences with tutors/teachers
July 2010: personal, family journey of hifdh al Qur’aan slowly commences, following encounters with Umm Asiayah Muhammad and Hafidha Rayhaanah Omar, among others
September 2010: Umm/author sits down to design a computer program (and/or comic strip) which will encourage young children to learn and live the Qur’aan (after observing overwhelming impact of these media on children)
October 1st, 2010: computer programming/comic strip ideas end, and Umm/author opts to write instead, followed by the creation of a real ‘Qur’aan Club’, primarily for children
December, 2010: initial positive feedback given, author continues to write for children, immediate family and friends (including many non-Muslim relatives) to help motivate hifdh study and share the experience
June 16th, 2011: urged on by family and friends, author starts to circulate manuscript to publishers
August 11, 2011: Greenbird Books responds favorably, with some requests for edits…
November, 2011: author reaches out to more children with the ‘Qur’aan Club’ and ‘Adventure Hifdh Club’, sharing an increasing number of hifdh activities; her preference is almost always to work outside with children
Meanwhile, August 2011-March 2012: edits…and what was initially known as ‘Ibrahim and Amna’s Story’ evolves into A Qur’aanic Odyssey
March 26, 2012: author starts on the sequel
April 6th, 2012, Good Friday: A Qur’aanic Odyssey emerges online, via Amazon
April 15th, 2012: A Qur’aanic Odyssey launches in Sugarland Texas, Chapter 39, ‘Pharaohs’ is shared with an audience primarily of adults (which is a first for the Odyssey)
April 20th, 2012: author engages a class of first graders, in Houston Texas, in a discussion of Earth Day following a reading of Chapter 36, ‘Super Men and Women,’ in A Qur’aanic Odyssey; students also start identifying their own ‘pen names’, encouraged by their own sense of authorship, alhumdulilah
April 23rd, 2012: mixed criticism received, “what is it? a novel, a play, notes?” Author responds by writing: “…it is not an in depth novel. Each chapter is short, almost like a skit, and is intended to highlight life lessons amidst Qur’aan learning. The text may be read to children, by children, and/or solely by adults. It is intended to be interactive inshaa Allah.”
April 27th, 2012: author ‘travels’ with a group of local elementary students during their Friday assembly to the Houston Museum of Natural History, with a reading of Chapter 34, ‘The Moths’ from A Qur’aanic Odyssey. Highly participatory and students connect the dots between Surah Al Bayyinah and Surah Al Buruj effortlessly mashaAllah
April 27th, 2012, later: ‘A Qur’aanic Odyssey’ is featured on ‘QuranClub‘: addressing questions such as “with what do you want readers to walk away?”
April 29th, 2012: ‘A Qur’aanic Odyssey’ is featured on Fee Qalbee’s ‘World of Hifdh’
May 21st, 2012: the Kindle version of A Qur’aanic Odyssey is available on Amazon, facilitating ease in access for those who wish IA
June 15th, 2012: 1st chapter of sequel, ‘Ya Sin’ featured on ‘QuranClub‘
June 28th, 2012: author shared A Qur’aanic Odyssey at the Freeport Community Library (Maine), another community, another extraordinary opportunity to learn…
See event poster: June 28th 2012 Freeport Community Library (Maine)
June 29th, 2012: outreach at the Islamic Society of Portland Maine, a mosque/society founded largely by the Somali immigrant community residing in Portland since 1999
July 3, 2012: outreach at the Vinalhaven Public Library (Maine), distributing books, in the spirit of ‘Miss Rumphius’ planting lupine inshaa Allah (Cooney, 1982)
July 9, 2012: outreach at the Norman Williams Public Library, Woodstock (Vermont), and more bridge building alhumdulilah
July 13, 2012: outreach at Al Nur, Dartmouth College (New Hampshire), just one week before the blessed month of Ramadan begins inshaa Allah
July 21, 2012: ILM Academy iftar, Houston, ‘Ramadan, goal setting and a new look at da’wah’, with Q&A available here.
July 26, 2012: Chapter 3 of Ya Sin, sequel to A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma, which delves into issues of inter-cultural relationships, especially in Ramadan, is featured on QuranClub. Thank you QuranClub.
August 3, 2012: Islamicity profiles A Qur’aanic Odyssey. Thank you Islamicity.
August 11, 2012: ‘At the Mesgid’, Chapter 9 of Ya Sin, sequel to A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma, is featured on QuranClub. Thank you.
August 16, 2012: ‘Fast Fear’ which showcases concerns about fasting including by Muslims and non-Muslims alike from Ya sin, sequel to A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma, is featured on QuranClub. Ongoing thanks.
September 17, 2012: Productive Muslim runs ‘Productivity and Hifdh Al Qur’an’ by Umm Muhemmed, a thought piece on how to integrate hifdh into our busy days. Thank you Productive Muslim and profound gratitude to the many teachers in our midst who have shared the myriad lessons.
December 13, 2012: ‘Ya Sin, Towards the Heart of the Qur’aan’ is completed, alhumdulilah.
January 25, 2013: Productive Muslim publishes ‘How to Achieve a Productive and Peaceful Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law’ (Part 1).
April 5, 2013: Morning Qur’aan, as featured on Fee Qalbee describes a Qur’aan routine in the morning with children.
Also, April 5, 2013: ‘How to Achieve a Productive and Peaceful Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law’ (Part 2), describes how Qur’aan helps bridge potential family divides.
June 26, 2013: Praying with the Ants, published by SuhaibWebb[dot]com, reinforcing need for change in our masajids and a Qur’aanic approach to and appreciation of change
July 19, 2013: Technology in Ramadan, published by Productive Muslim[dot]com, touches on many themes featured in both A Qur’aanic Odyssey and Ya Sin, Heart of the Qur’aan (forthcoming)
September 23, 2013: Shukran Sr. Juli Herman for your time and thought in reviewing A Qur’aanic Odyssey; check out her wonderful blog mA and be inspired!
December 4, 2013: Deen inside and outside, and potential for Qur’aan in the garden. Article published by Productive Muslim.
October 2015: Ya Sin: a hifdh journey in America launches…
November 30, 2015: Ya Seen, re-titled and accepted into the collection at the Bellaire City Library, Texas.
March 25, 2016: A Quranic Odyssey: towards Juz ‘Amma is republished (also on Good Friday), illustrated by Azra Momin.
And the story continues inshaa Allah…