Title: MIRIAM AND ZAINAB
Genre: Realistic Fiction (ownvoices - Jewish)
Word Count: 560
Dear Michelle and Sharon,
I wrote MIRIAM AND ZAINAB after spending several years teaching elementary students in a Jewish day school, as well as a stint working at a school serving primarily Muslim students. It stood out to me that the students from the two cultures shared many commonalities, but little knowledge of that fact.
Miriam, a six-year-old Jewish girl, is thrilled when Zainab moves into the house next door, but confused when her mother tells her to keep her distance. Miriam is entranced by the beautiful headscarf Zainab’s mother wears, and excited when she hears Zainab’s family speaking a second language—just like Miriam’s family does. It’s hard to understand why her mom thinks they’re so different, especially because the more she watches her new neighbors, the more they seem just like her family.
Then one day Miriam’s favorite doll goes missing and turns up on Zainab’s side of the fence. Could Mom have been right? Are Zainab and her family trouble after all?
The picture book, MIRIAM AND ZAINAB, is complete at 556 words. It will appeal to parents and children who also enjoy Stick and Stone, Same, Same but Different, and other books that involve unlikely friendships and friendships across cultural barriers.
I am a former elementary school teacher and a member of SCBWI, and I’m Jewish—just like Miriam.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First 50 Words:
The new girl stepped out into the sunlight.
Miriam was halfway across the lawn before her mother’s voice rang out. “Stay on our side.”
She skidded to a halt. “Why?”
“That family is different from ours,” replied her mother.
Miriam peered from behind the fence until the girl’s mother called, “Zainab! Time to come in.”