“If you had told me when I was a child that I could not only publish books one day, but also include characters who resemble me, I would have smiled and nodded but not believed you. I want kids of all backgrounds today to know it is possible for them, and that their voices and their stories matter just as much as anyone else’s.”
Hena wrote the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series and More to the Story, a novel inspired by her all-time favorite book, Little Women. Hena’s award winning picture books include Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, Under My Hijab, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, Night of the Moon, It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Like the Moon Loves the Sky.
As a child, Hena spent countless hours at the Rockville Public Library in Maryland but never saw her life as a Pakistani American Muslim reflected on the pages of a book. It didn’t occur to her back then that someone like her deserved to be a character in a story. After completing her MA in International Affairs, Hena worked for non-profit health organizations, helping to disseminate research findings for audiences around the world.
Hena began writing for kids with Scholastic book clubs, publishing books for a number of series including Spy University, Space University, and How to Survive Anything. She also wrote adventure-filled choose-your-own format books, including the Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure Mars and Amazon and is excited to revisit the genre with her forthcoming SuperYOU series.
Hena’s novels are often centered around her culture, community, friendship and family, and draw heavily from her own experiences. She divides her time between writing, presenting to children, educators, and others, and being mom to two teen boys. Hena lives in Maryland with her family but is lucky to get to travel a lot. Her favorite things are getting letters from kids, perfect cappuccinos, and reading in bed.
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