Interview with children’s author Farhad Khadim

Interview with children’s author Farhad Khadim

Children’s author Farhad Khadim recently released his second book, Nani's Beef Patties. The book is about Dhaakir and Salaama and their visit to their grandma one day in Ramadan - the trio prepare beef patties, a savoury snack, having fun while doing so.

Farhad Khadim

Farhad Khadim was born in Guyana, South America. At an early age he became obsessed with poetry and fiction. He commenced a teaching career at the local high school that he attended and later migrated to Toronto where he has worked for the past thirty years as an Information Management professional. He is a founder of Masjid Toronto, a central mosque in downtown Toronto and a founding director of the Islamic Institute of Toronto where he serves as the Director of Education. He is married and has two daughters and a son.

Can you tell us more about Nani's Beef Patties?

Nani's Beef Patties is a children's picture book about a grandma engaging her two grandchildren in baking a savoury snack for Iftar.

The conversation between them brings out a few basic terms about fasting in Ramadan and acknowledging that our hunger during fasting is a norm experienced by some children in various parts of the world.

While this is mentioned in passing, it is my hope that readers will be sensitized to this important point, and that teachers and parents who read the book to younger children will use it as a teachable moment to underscore the poverty that exists in society and the need for us to at least empathize with them through fasting.

What prompted you to write Nani's Beef Patties?

It was a few years ago, when my wife invited her niece's two children to let them experience baking beef patties that I was inspired to write this book. I wrote the manuscript, but did not publish it until recently after the birth of my two grandchildren (the two kids in the book are named after them). The illustrator, Ayla Yasaci (from Turkey) did a wonderful job representing the emotions in the book.

Are there any books in particular you’ve been influenced by in your own life and writing?

As a young child growing up in a small village in Guyana, my only window to the world was books. I remember reading books that were beyond my age range - books that were part of my older siblings' English Literature curriculum. I read "Jane Eyre" many times, and completed "A Book of Narrative Verse" while still in early high school. Poems like "Michael" and "Sohrab and Rustum" had a deep effect on me.

Like other high school students, I read all the works of Louis L'Amour, The Navarone Series, The Bourne Series, Shakespeare and many others.  As an active youth in the Muslim Community, I particularly enjoyed the three-part series by Abdul Wahid Hamid "Companions of the Prophet." Later, as a father to my three children, my evenings were taken up telling bedtime stories, many of which I improvised and even serialized!

What other children’s books have you written?

I also published another children's picture book "Oh, The Things I See!" - a lively rhyme about everyday things, animals and people, also illustrated by Ayla Yasaci. I intend to make this a series for various age ranges.

What other writing projects do you’ve in the works?

I have a number of other children's books in progress - one, a popular Guyanese folktale (Those Mischievous Monkeys); another about the death of Great-Grandpa (Where did Great Grandpa Go?) and a third about "My Masjid. ''

I have also published a Poetry Anthology "Whispers of Faith" which will be followed by another, "I Can't Breathe and Other Poems".

Writing is my passion and I hope that my writing can open up doors of engagement and understanding with others.

I am open to sharing my experience with others, especially young people who have an interest in writing and publishing.