Alya Nuri is a 10-year old American Muslim, author, and motivational speaker. She started her writing career at the tender age of 7 and has recently published a 4 book series called “Things Every Kid Should Know”. Her books target a younger audience and aim to educate and promote prevention of smoking, alcohol, drugs and bullying. Alya is a homeschooled 7th grader and loves reading books and working for the welfare of the poor and needy. She has written 10 articles and wants to continue writing more books for the betterment of youth. Her future goals include public speaking and coaching kids.
Alya is a very busy girl, but she was very accommodating in allowing MuslimMatters to interview her as a source of inspiration and encouragement for all Muslim parents and youth. May Allāh increase all of our children in 'ilm and īmān inshā'Allāh. āmīn.
How did your interest in writing begin? How did you decide on the topics for your books?
Well, I started writing when my mom decided that she wanted to write her books. I went through many different titles until I asked my mom, “What do kids have trouble with?” Then she gave me the topics of Drugs, Alcohol, and Smoking and told me to research them. I started researching about them until I had read more than 100 books between the 3 topics. I then asked my mom for some true stories, and she helped me find some, and I was so sad. I never knew things like this existed, and so I thought I must help other kids be aware of these dangers before they get addicted by accident.
Can you explain the process (from the concept stage to actually publishing) of publishing your books for kids?
Well, my mom actually published my book because she has her own publishing company. What I did was write my book, and my mom then made me use my own money to pay for the editor. After editing, we had to have images created, then place them in the book, and the book was done. Then I had to approve the way the book looked, and then it went to printing. My mom did the rest.
What has been the response (from both adults and children) to your books?
Mostly positive. Many of the kids love my books and are now aware of these dangers. Most of the parents have given me great feedback. However, there are always some negative comments on my YouTube channel. Alhamdullilah, that is part of life, and my mom says you can't please everyone, and our goal should be to please only Allāh (subhanahu wata'ala).
In what way has your mother been a role model for you?
Watching her write books, multi-task, speak on stage, teach me how to cook, and many other things that many moms don't do daily. She has also given me homework, helped me with my assignments, and I love that she stays home to homeschool and be my best friend forever. inshā'Allāh.
What things did your parents do to motivate you during homeschooling when you wanted to give up?
I never really wanted to give up, and I love homeschooling. My mom makes things easy. If something is hard, she finds other ways to explain it to me or make me go through it again to better understand it.
Many people criticize homeschooling and say it stunts social growth. What has your experience been with this?
I have been more socialized that anyone from school has been, from holding snakes and alligators, to speaking in front of hundreds of adults and students. Alhamdullilah. I think due to people not experiencing it themselves, they have many misconceptions and wrong ideas about home schooling.
What are your life goals and how do you plan to accomplish them?
I want to become a zoologist and many other things. I plan to speak around the world and help unite people from different color and races. Most importantly, I want to be a hafidh of Qurʾān and a Scholar of Islam, so that when I am making a difference in my career, I can explain the real Islam easily inshā'Allāh!
What advice do you have for other kids your age in terms of setting and achieving their goals? What advice do you have to parents?
Advice to kids: inshā'Allāh never give up on your goals. Anyone can do it with the help of Allāh, but it will take time, so have sabr, for patience is the key to success.
Advice to parents: If your kid says something, don't put them down. Support them because one day you will regret it. Your kid could become something great if you give them a chance.
To learn more about Alya and her books, go to her website at http://www.alyanuri.com/.