Skip to main menu Skip to content
On June 12, Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries will launch OMNI, an academic search tool designed to bring library search and service functions together to provide a seamless, one-stop search experience for users.

Rukhsana Khan

Rukhsana Khan was born in Lahore, Pakistan. When she was an infant, her family moved to Great Britain, and shortly afterwards to Canada where they settled in Dundas, Ontario. Upon marriage, she moved to Scarborough, completed high school and then studied at a community college to become a biological-chemical technician. Courses offered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre helped Khan to polish her writing skills.

Book cover of Bedtime Ba-a-a-lk

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Bedtime Ba-a-a-lk

Illustrated by Kristi Frost.
Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1998.

Book cover of Big Red Lillipop

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Big Red Lollipop

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
New York: Viking Children’s Books, 2010.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?

Awards and Honours

2011 Golden Kite Award–Picture Book Text (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators)

2013 100 Great Children’s Books in 100 Years (New York Public Library)

Fiction (Juvenile, Folklore)

The Clever Wife: A Kyrgyz Folktale

Illustrated by Ayesha Gamiet.
Bloomington, Indiana: Wisdom Tales, 2022.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

The Clever Wife is based on a traditional folktale from Kyrgyzstan in central Asia. Beautifully retold by award-winning author Rukhsana Khan, it is the story of a spirited young heroine named Danyshman, whose wit and courage draw the attention and admiration of the ruling Khan Bolotbek. But will intrigue, betrayal, and exile threaten her relationship with the khan? Superbly illustrated by Ayesha Gamiet, a master in the art of Islamic manuscript illumination, this classic “thinking outside the box” story will inspire young readers far and wide.


Fiction (Juvenile)

Dahling, If You Luv Me, Please, Please Smile

Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1999.

Awards and Honours

2000? Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Honour Award (Winner)
2000 Red Maple Award (Nominated)
2000 Ruth Schwartz Award (Nominated)

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Elephant’s Makeover

Illustrated by Ikram Syed.
Canada: Ruqaya’s Bookshelf, 2022?

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Elephant wants to make friends.

When she overhears some animals talking about her, she internalizes their comments and decides to do something about it.

She will swap her offending body parts for prettier ones!

She takes Owl’s beautiful eyes, Wasp’s tiny waist, Mole’s star-shaped nose, Mouse’s dainty ears, and Cat’s long graceful limbs and TA DA! She thinks she’s gorgeous.

But when she hears them grumbling about her she wonders what to do. …

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Honk Honk, Beep Beep, Putter Putt!

Illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat.
Toronto: Tundra Books, 2024.
Forthcoming Sept. 2024.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Ibraheem and his cat, Mitu, join Baba on a rickshaw trip through the big city, where vehicles of all sorts and sizes have their own language to help them navigate the busy streets.

Along the way, Ibraheem notices that though there aren’t traffic signals, the cars, buses, trucks, rickshaws (and even a stray toad!), all navigate the hustle and bustle of the streets safely by communicating in their own language.

With its poetic text and bright, friendly art, Ibraheem’s adventure comes alive with the exciting sounds, movement and personality of the drivers and vehicles that share the road.

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

King for a Day

Illustrated by Christiane Krömer.
New York: Lee & Low Books, 2014. (reprinted in 2019)

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is Malik’s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant.

In two fierce battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity, Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl.

This lively, contemporary story introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport while finding his own way to face and overcome life’s challenges.

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

King of the Skies

Art by Laura Fernandez & Rick Jacobson.
Markham, Ont.: North Winds Press, 2001.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

One day each spring a boy launches his fighting kite into the air. He has worked on it all year, perfecting every detail to make his kite the very best – the one that can capture all the others. Not even the huge kite of the boy next door can match his . . . for on this special day, he is king of the skies!


Fiction (Juvenile, Short stories)

Many Windows: Six Kids, Five Faiths, One Community

With Elisa Carbone & Uma Krishnaswami.
Illustrated by Patty Gallinger.
Toronto: Napoleon Publishing, 2008.


Fiction and Poetry (Juvenile)

Muslim Child: A Collection of Short Stories and Poems

Illustrated by Patty Gallinger. Sidebars by Irfan Alli.
Toronto: Napoleon Publishing, 1999.

Awards and Honours

2001 Hackmatack Award (N.S.L.A.)(Nominated)
2001? Canadian Children’s Book Centre–“Our Choice” Book


Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

A New Life

Illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi.
Toronto: Groundwood, 2009.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Eight-year-old Khadija, her older brother, Hamza, and their parents have just arrived in Canada from Pakistan. In their classrooms on the first day of school Khadija and Hamza are confronted by a sea of unfamiliar faces. … But gradually, Khadija and Hamza find new friends and begin to feel more at home.

Fiction (Juvenile / Middle Grade)

Not Guilty

Don Mills, ON: Pearson Canada, 2015.
Well Aware series. (Grade 7 level)


One of a series of short novels raising awareness of mental health issues and designed to foster classroom discussion.


Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

The Roses in My Carpets

Illustrated by Ronald Himler.
Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1998.
Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From Fitzhenry & Whiteside website)

In a flowerless war-torn world where every inch of land must be used to grow precious food, a young boy weaves roses in his carpets as he masters the skills that may save his family from a life of poverty.
For a young refugee living with loss and terror-filled memoriers, time is measured by the next bucket of water, the next portion of bread, and the next call to prayer. Here where everything-walls, floor, courtyard-is mud, a boy’s heart can still long for freedom, independence, and safety. And here, where life is terribly fragile, the strength to endure grows out of need. But the strength to dream comes from within.

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Rabia’s Eid

Illustrated by Debby Rahmalia.
New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2024.
Series: Step 2 Readers.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From the Penguin Random House Canada website)

It’s Eid-al-fitr—the last day of Ramadan, which means it is the last day for Rabia to fast with the rest of her family and she has never done it before. Rabia is so excited! She eats just before sunrise and then the day of fasting begins! Rabia gets to have her hands painted with henna, wear a new dress, and put her family’s donation in the box at the mosque. It’s a special Eid all around.


Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Ruler of the Courtyard

Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
New York: Viking Childrens’s Books, 2003.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Is it just Saba, or do chickens scare everyone? The chickens in her yard are especially mean, chasing her and pecking at her toes. But when she sees a snake in the bathhouse, Saba realizes that chickens aren’t her only problem. She has to act fast to protect herself and her nani, her grandma, from the snake. Can she conquer the chickens and the snake to become the Ruler of the Courtyard? Does she really have to conquer them at all?
Set in Pakistan, this suspenseful picture book has text that is ideal for reading out loud, and award-winning illustrator R. Gregory Christie’s bold and imaginative illustrations will captivate readers and bring Saba to life.

Awards and Honours

2003? Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Our Choice” Award


Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Silly Chicken

Illustrated by Yunmee Kyong.
New York: Viking Children’s Books, 2005.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Rani’s mother loves Bibi the chicken more than her. At least that’s what Rani thinks. That silly chicken gets all the attention, and Rani just can’t stand it. Even worse, Bibi seems to know she’s the favorite! But when Bibi disappears one afternoon, Rani realizes how sad her mother is. Will Rani’s jealousy disappear, too?
Set in rural and illustrated with lively, expressive illustrations, this original take on sibling rivalry is hilarious and poignant at the same time.


Fiction (Juvenile)

Wanting Mor

Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2009.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Growing up in a poor village in Afghanistan, Jameela has been surrounded by war her entire life.  She wishes she could go to school and learn to read.  She wishes she hadn’t been born with a cleft lip.  She wishes her relatives hadn’t been wiped out by a bomb during a family wedding–an event that has left her father angry and withdrawn.
But through all these hardships, Jameela has relied on her unwavering faith and the strength of her beloved mother, Mor.  Then Mor dies unexpectedly, Jameela’s father decides to seek a new life in Kabul, and Jameela must deal with more drastic changes.

Awards and Honours

2010-11 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award — English fiction (Shortlist)

Non-fiction (Juvenile)

Coming to Canada

Illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi.
Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2008.


Rukhsana Khan’s personal website

Publisher Dundurn (distributes Napoleon titles)

Pearson Canada Well Aware Authors page

Publisher Groundwood

Publisher Lee & Low Books

Napoleon Publishing blog

Publisher Penguin Group (USA) (Viking Children’s Group)

Publisher Penguin Random House Canada

Publisher Ruqaya’s Bookshelf

Publisher Scholastic Canada (North Winds Press)

Publisher Wisdom Tales