New picture book about Northern mosque celebrates diversity and inclusion in Canada

New picture book about Northern mosque celebrates diversity and inclusion in Canada

 The Journey of the Midnight Sun showcases the power of communities working together

Journey of the Midnight Sun, the true story of the Midnight Sun Mosque, is now available from Orca Book Publishers. Through an incredible community effort, the Midnight Sun Mosque traveled across Canada to become one of the most northern mosques in the Arctic Circle.

In 2010, a Winnipeg-based charity raised funds to build and ship a mosque to Inuvik, one of the most northern towns in Canada’s Arctic. A small but growing Muslim community there had been using a cramped trailer for their services, but there just wasn’t enough space. The mosque traveled over 4,000 kilometers on a journey fraught with poor weather, incomplete bridges, narrow roads, low traffic wires and a deadline to get on the last barge heading up the Mackenzie River before the first winter freeze.

Written by Shazia Afzal and illustrated by Aliya Ghare, this uplifting picture book is aimed at young readers aged 3-5. Inspired by the communities that made the journey possible, Afzal states, “The book talks about how communities together can make things possible. It shows a true multicultural picture of Canada and how Canada is a place where everyone is welcome to practice their beliefs and live in peace and harmony.”

The Midnight Sun Mosque also inspired the 2015 documentary, Arctic Mosque, created by filmmakers and sisters Nilufer and Saira Rahman.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Shazia Afzal has been a teacher and storyteller for over twenty years. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

Aliya Ghare graduated from OCAD University, where she majored in illustration and minored in English. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and Adobe, and has been awarded by and published in the Applied Arts and 3×3 magazines. Aliya lives in Toronto.

Praise for Journey of the Midnight Sun:

“A lovely recounting of how the Inuvik people received their first mosque. Afzal portrays this important historical event in a way which highlights community togetherness and human kindness. A treat for all children, teaching them that the seemingly impossible can sometimes be accomplished with some good-heartedness and a bit of teamwork.”—Hend Hegazi, author, editor, and writing coach

“A simple, celebratory story of community collaboration and religious tolerance.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An uplifting, effectively delivered account of acceptance, support, and solidarity.” —Booklist

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