Saturday, March 2, 2013

Author Visit: Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin

Day 2 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!
On Thursday, our school welcomed author Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin to share with our students about writing and the Muslim-American experience. I was able to take my Advanced ELL class to her large-group presentation, and a small group of students (including one of my Muslim students from Iraq) attended a more intimate Q&A session afterwards.  After school, she even stayed around to sign books (I got her to sign My Name is Bilal for our classroom!) and talk with students at our multicultural after-school event, Global Café Read-a-Latte.  (more about that tomorrow!)

Earlier in the week, I checked out all 3 of her books from the library and had my students buddy-read them so they would be familiar with her work.  It was so much fun to see the cultural questions the books sparked, especially since our Muslim student in that class was able to personally explain some of the experiences  that were referenced in the books.  Her eyes sparkled as she shared about fasting and other traditions with her classmates as they read together.

During the both sessions, Asma spoke about her struggle for identity growing up in a small Ohio town with few other Muslims and explained some Muslim beliefs and experiences that she "wished [her] classmates would have known" about Islam.  This was such an important message for our school, since we have quite a few Muslim students.  In addition, she discussed her motivations for writing and her writing process.  Several of her ideas really resonated with me:

  • "Writing helps people share parts of themselves and their humanity with other people."
  • "Tap into whatever it is in your soul that moves you and put it onto paper."
  • "Let your fingers connect to your heart and just write... free."
  • "When you start listening to your heart and soul, stuff comes out that you didn't even know was there."
Maybe I'll put them up on the walls of my classroom next year.  Perfect thoughts to start out the March Challenge, right?


  1. I was fortunate to listen to Dr. Asma speak last year at the Columbus Area Writing Project's Writing conference. I loved her message. Thanks for sharing your students' experience and how you helped them get ready for her visit. Thanks too, for the quotes. I think I'm going to save those and share them with my students.

  2. Those quotes are great! I will have to jot them down, as they are great reminders. I checked and our library system has two of her books. What a great way to kick off your writing challenge for your kids.

  3. I love the book My Name Is Bilal. How exciting to have Dr. Mobin-Uddin visit. And it's great to see what she had to say. Thanks for the quotes, Jennifer.

    1. I thought I remembered seeing on Goodreads that you had enjoyed it, Linda! It is a great book, and the author visit was a wonderful experience! :-)

  4. I love these quotes, Jennifer.

    The more I hear about author visits to school, the more I want to organize one. Kids seem to connect more with books when the personal connection is there.

  5. I love moments like these...when the raw experience is so powerful you want to hold onto its essence beyond the moment. Even if her words do not live on the walls of your classroom, they will surely live in the hearts of your students (and you).

  6. Wow Jennifer! So powerful! These quotes spark so much emotion in me, and I wasn't even there. The kids will never forget this experience.


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