Considered a must-read author in many Canadian schools and recently included on the New York Public Library's list of 100 great children's books of the last 100 years, Toronto-based writer Rukhsana Khan tells stories that resonate in our multicultural world.
With about a dozen books under her belt so far, Khan's stories — including Big Red Lollipop, the title tapped by the New York Public Library — often feature visible minority children as the main characters. The stories share universal lessons about bullying, belonging, jealousy or social class and tackle tough topics such as immigration, poverty and refugees.
The Pakistani-Canadian author's books help children understand life from a different perspective and upbringing, said Catherine Inglis, a teacher who feels Khan's books are a staple of her classroom.
"Ultimately, that's what these books do: they help us understand what it might be like to be someone we're not," she told CBC News.
In her writing, Khan, whose family moved to Dundas, Ont., after fleeing Pakistan in the mid-1960s, taps into her own memories of growing up in a small town with few minorities and what it was like to be picked on.
"Kids who are going through a hard time ... give them something to just keep them going. That's what I'm hoping my books can do," she said.
In the attached video, CBC's Zulekha Nathoo reports on the award-winning author.