We invited Hidayah Amin to be part of our Twilight Feast Authors’ Meet and Mingle Session, and asked her what makes her tick when it comes to writing children’s books.
1. As an author of children’s books, where do you get some of your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from real life events, my life experience, and by observing things around me.
2. What makes a good story for young children?
The story must be relatable. It should not be unreal that we cannot relate to the story or the characters.
3. What tips would you give new authors on writing for young children?
Keep the storyline simple. Simplicity does not mean no good. In fact, writing in a simple and concise language is a skill.
4. What tips would you give self-published authors when publishing their own book?
a. Do research (look at good books, talk to authors, study what makes a good book/how to write a good book etc.).
b. Don’t be in a hurry to publish–a good piece of work takes time and lots of effort.
c. Don’t compromise on quality.
d. Always check your intention/objective–“Why am I doing this?”
e. Write sincerely. Readers can see through the writer through his words/writing.
f. Your story must have a message that readers can learn.
g. Never stop learning, researching and reading.
5. What’s your favourite children’s book and why?
I have lots of favourite children’s books! My current month favourite is ‘Going to Mecca’ by Na’ima B. Robert and Valentina Cavallini.
a. Simple and concise storyline about going on the Haj
b. Beautiful and age-appropriate illustrations
c. Reader can learn about the Haj rites
d. Book promotes understanding and indirectly, religious harmony
Thanks Hidayah for the insights. Do SHARE if you find this useful.
Hidayah Amin had her first short story published when she was 11 years old. It was only when she lost her childhood home that she resumed writing and published Gedung Kuning in 2010. She has since written four non-fiction books (Malay Weddings Don’t Cost $50; Kampung Tempe; Bahasa;) and three children’s books, including the award-winning The Mango Tree. (Mina Meets Cambridge; My Name is Mikhail : I have cerebral palsy;). One of the unique formats of her children’s books is the use of the dyslexie font which is suitable for readers with dyslexia. She has also published a series of books that comes in Braille to cater to the needs of the visually impaired. In 2017, she has also published for other authors such as The Rain Tree by Lee Seow Ser, and My Name is Nadia: I have Autism by Huda Patel.
Her books are available at Ungu Pen physical store and webstore.