Author Highlight: Hoda Elmasry

Hoda Elmasry, author of Idrees and the New Old Shoes, is an Egyptian-American mother of two who was bitten by the writing bug back in second grade.

Hoda never saw herself in books growing up. “Even if the story resonated,” she says, “the characters did not.” When she first saw the Yasmin book series by Saadia Faruqi—“about a Muslim girl, being a leader, being curious, being awesome”—she was more excited than her five-year-old daughter.

Now, many years later, she's written her own book featuring a character Muslim kids can relate to. In Idrees and the New Old Shoes, Idrees dreams of being the fastest runner at school. But his old shoes are so tight they’re affecting his speed. When Mama gets him another pair, he’s thrilled—until he finds out they’re a used pair from their elderly neighbour. Will Idrees refuse to wear them, or will he discover the power of adding a new story to an old pair of shoes?

Like Idrees, Hoda had a forgetful neighbour as a child, and she didn’t really appreciate the blessings of hand-me-downs or her caring neighbour. She wanted to write a story that challenged these ways of thinking.

“Our kids today are constantly fed a message about the value of all things new. I wanted to counterbalance that by showing what’s old can be as good as new, sometimes even better.”

Hoda wants to continue to tell stories that are true to life and that kids can relate to. “I want them to see themselves in characters who are facing tough decisions.” She believes it’s important for kids to “see someone like themselves choosing to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing.” 

Add Idrees and the New Old Shoes to your collection today!

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