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Farida Zaman

Farida Zaman is a Toronto-based illustrator and artist. Zaman specialized in illustration and design when she attended art school in London at the Chelsea School of Art and Wimbledon School of Art. Her South Asian family lived in many countries when she was growing up. In 2018, her non-fiction recipe book The Artful Smoothie: 30 Illustrated Smoothie Recipes was published using the CreateSpace publishing platform. Zaman recently began collaborating with her daughter, writer Layla Ahmad.

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Aliya’s Secret: A Story of Ramadan

Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2023.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Ramadan is coming, and as Abba and Ammi prepare for their month-long fast, Aliya hugs a secret to her chest: she’s going to fast too! Ammi says she’s still too young to fast, but Aliya is determined. At school, she refuses her snack, her lunch—even the cupcakes Sanjay’s mom drops off for his birthday. But when she gets home, she can’t resist Ammi’s sweet, syrupy baklava. Before Aliya can stop herself, she reaches out and takes a big bite.

Aliya is disappointed in herself, but Ammi explains that there are many other ways to celebrate Ramadan besides fasting, like performing acts of kindness! Together, Aliya and her parents spend the month preparing and delivering meals to people in need.

This joyful look at Ramadan is based on the author’s own childhood experiences and is rich with facts and details about the holiday. Readers familiar and unfamiliar with the holiest month in the Islamic calendar will get swept up in the festivities, and perhaps be inspired to share a meal with their community.

Fiction (Juvenile, Board book)

I Want to Be…: A Gutsy Girls’ ABC

Toronto: Second Story Press, 2020.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

An alphabet of possibilities for when you grow up—fun, unusual, and a bit quirky!

Some jobs immediately sound fun—Candy Maker anyone?! And some jobs sound exciting—Oceanographer, Sportscaster, Aerialist! And some jobs—Kite Designer, Wind Farmer, Party Planner—sound so wonderful it’s hard to believe that they exist! Babies and toddlers will follow along with this ABC as it explores some of the amazing, and often unusual, jobs that people do. Each fun letter is complemented by an illustration of a girl filled with delight and wonder as she shows us how we can be, quite literally, anything we want to be.

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Meena Can’t Wait

Written and illustrated by Farida Zaman
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2024.
forthcoming March 2024

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Meena is excited because today she’s going to Nanu’s house to drink tea and eat treats.

When Meena gets there, she’s ready to get started…but her nanu tells her it’s not time yet. Today they’re going to have a very special Bengali tea called doodh cha, and they are going to make it together.

First, they harvest some ingredients from the garden. Then they head inside to prepare. Meena’s tummy is rumbling as she smells her grandmother’s freshly baked samosas and spice cake, but she helps crush the cardamom and cloves and learns when to add the milk, sugar and tea. While they’re waiting for the doodh cha to be done, Nanu shares memories of her past in Bangladesh as they look at old photos, paint pictures and set the table. And when the doodh cha is finally ready, it’s just as delicious as Nanu had promised. Nanu was right: “It always tastes better when we make it together.”

Included in this book inspired by author Farida Zaman’s own visits with her grandmother is Farida’s family doodh cha recipe.


Farida Zaman personal website

Publisher Orca Book Publishers

Publisher Second Story Press