Elementary school me, reading her Highlights magazine, had no idea what that smiling logo would come to mean.
In 2021, the Highlights Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the voices of storytellers, announced a two-year fellowship in children’s literature for Muslim storytellers.
I am so humbled to be one of the fellows chosen.
This fellowship, and the work it will help me do, means so much to me. Below is a statement I shared in my application that speaks to the heart of why I create. You can see the full press release here.
“I started school as an ESL student. Then in second grade, my teachers moved me to the advanced reading group. The chapter books I was assigned felt so distant from my life as a Bangladeshi Muslim immigrant. But those characters—Laura, Matilda, Anne, Margaret—showed me a complex and beautiful American culture. I understood American culture, but the understanding wasn’t mutual. This program is launching the authors, artists, and books that will reach children’s hearts for generations to come,” said Natasha Khan Kazi, an author, illustrator, digital content creator, and fellow.
Thank you to the Highlights Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, and the program committee.
Congrats to the fellows!