Journey Beyond the Great Tree

Product Details
Zaynab Books LLC
Publish Date
5.06 X 7.81 X 0.91 inches | 0.98 pounds

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About the Author
Adnan Ashraf was born in Northampton, England and spent most of his childhood in suburban Ohio, where he learned how to type and first began writing fiction. His first typed-up story was "The Adventures of Gatrare Hockachowits and Elvittsburgh Borg." At age 12, he then moved to Karachi for a time before graduating from high school in Florida. He studied fiction writing at Bennington College, and the City College of New York, and much later at the University of East Anglia in London, and the Center for Literature and Theatre in Miami. He won the New York University Press prize for hyperfiction with The Straight Path (1999), which juror Stuart Moulthrop described as "a compelling and brilliantly elaborated story of spiritual awakening." Subsequently, he taught English in Jeddah, Lahore, Fremont, and Amman whilst he learned sacred knowledge from traditional scholars, which he continues to do. His essay "A Vehicle for the Sacred," about the near eastern novels of Pickthall, was published by Brill in 2017. Journey Beyond the Great Tree is his first middle grade novel.

"Well-written and beautifully illustrated, Journey Beyond the Great Tree represents a new genre in Muslim children's literature. Weaving together elements of fantasy, environmentalism, and spirituality, author Adnan Ashraf writes with the Muslim child in mind as he chooses a young Muslim girl, Safa, for his protagonist. On a mission to save her father's orange juice business, Safa quickly transcends the confines of her suburban Florida neighborhood, challenging herself to climb the great tree that is the source of the family's livelihood. While Safa's journey elevates her physically and metaphorically as she meets a whimsical cast of characters and transcends the boundaries of heaven and earth, she manages to remain grounded throughout--she is conscientious about her prayer and themes of Qur'an and dhikr echo throughout. To write fantasy with a didactic element is not an easy feat, but Adnan Ashraf's first novel is a solid attempt at filling in the gaps in literary offerings for the Muslim child."

-Zaynab Ansari, Faculty, Tayseer Seminary