Magic Windows

June 01, 2015

I recently finished a picturebook project about a young girl in rural Pakistan. Our protagonist, little Hala, starts off as a very curious baby, ready to explore the world surrounding her in her village home.

It was really interesting researching for this project. 

While Pakistan is our twin in so many ways (and it was often so difficult figuring out if my reference scenes were from an Indian village or a Pakistani village), by the end of my research, I had begun to understand the subtle differences of clothing and fabric, the trees and houses, and perhaps most of all, the sharp and fine features of our neighbouring countryfolk; they just look so beautiful, and the children even more so! 

Of course, Pakistan has its share of a variety of people, cultures and customs (fast disappearing, like ours is), and I'm aware that I have only scratched the surface...

Hala grows up, her mind filled with curious questions about her surroundings, which her uneducated but loving parents try their best to answer. Unsatisfied, she often dreams of a magic window that opens up new worlds, shows her how things work, and answers her questions.

When an open air school opens in her village, Hala is about to discover that her magic window exists in reality too!

The book, called 'Hala's Window, is written by Farida Mirza and published by Oxford University Press, and can be found online here. To my Pakistani friends, I hope you run into Hala at a bookstore and tell her story to the children around you!

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