As America's Oldest Children's Bookstore, we are proud to support our local schools, teachers, and librarians by providing FREE events featuring authors and illustrators to encourage reading, inspire writing, and coordinate fun!
School events with authors are private events, but interested readers can order a signed and personalized book through Once Upon A Time. Please place your order at least 24 hours in advance of the event, unless otherwise noted.
If you would like your school to be considered for author or illustrator visits, please fill out the Google form here or the PDF here or contact Maureen at Events@onceupona.com.
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School Visit with S. K. Ali
Private Off-Site Event
William C. Morris Award Finalist author S. K. Ali will be visiting schools with Once Upon A Time Bookstore. If you would like a book signed and personalized, please order at least 24 hours in advance. We are also hosting a free and public event, more infromation here.
About the Book: From William C. Morris Award Finalist S.K. Ali comes an unforgettable romance that is part The Sun Is Also a Star mixed with Anna and the French Kiss , following two Muslim teens who meet during a spring break trip.
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes--because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.
An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb's teacher, who won't stop reminding the class how "bad" Muslims are.
But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn't bad. She's angry. When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, "nicer" version of herself in a place where no one knows her.
Then her path crosses with Adam's.
Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam's stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam's also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.
Until a marvel and an oddity occurs...
Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
About the Author: S.K. Ali is a teacher based in Toronto whose writing on Muslim culture and life has appeared in the Toronto Star. Her family of Muslim scholars is consistently listed in the The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and her insight into Muslim culture is both personal and far-reaching. A mother of a teenage daughter herself, S.K. Ali’s debut YA novel is a beautiful and nuanced story about a young woman exploring her identity through friendship, family, and faith.
This is a fantastic debut contemporary teen novel that tells the story of a Muslim teen, Janna, and her acceptance of her identity. Told in first person, Janna has some preconceived notions of some of her close friends, and needs to be strong and brave as she fights others preconceived notions of good and bad. Questioning herself, her motives, her strengths and her faith, Janna is a fully formed heroine for our time! Appreciating differences and strength in family is a key theme in this terrific book. I would love to see a continuing of Janna and her family! - Maureen
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At her parents’ wit’s end, 15 year old Wren is sent away to a last-chance desert survival camp due to her out-of-control weed-smoking, alcoholic bingeing, petty thievery and lying. The camp counselors (“jailers”) use tough love, directness and surprising storytelling-therapy to try to straighten out the wayward teens in the camp. Wren bristles at everyone who tries to help her, and her hard won survival skills – finding water, making fire – coupled with her own breakdown and realization that she was heading down the extreme wrong path is painful with hidden truths. The quest to find oneself in the desert is just the beginning of Wren’s story to find the correct path in life, once home. This book will resonate with both wayward teens, perhaps exploring the darker side of their misdeeds, as well as a teen looking for an adventurous read. - Maureen