Author Amina Yaqoob is on a mission to give morality its own superpower. In her new Minah the Superhero children’s book series, she provides key moral principles that are the keys to a happy and fulfilling life. Morality is not about children following rules or being good people; it’s about developing a strong sense of right and wrong and using it to guide your choices in life. When you have a solid moral compass, you make better decisions,” she explains. “You’re less likely to be swayed by peer pressure or temptation and more likely to act according to your values.” Dr. Yaqoob offers children a powerful framework for making moral choices in a complex world. With clarity and conviction, the choice to do the right thing is always within our reach and is each person’s superpower.
Dr. Yaqoob is a writer who not only wants diversity in her books but also wants to give a different perspective by creating a character that wears a hijab. In this interview, she shared the unique way she created the main character, Minah. She wanted to create a relatable character for young girls who might be going through similar experiences but also wanted to show that girls who wear hijabs can be strong and confident. She explained that she didn’t want to create a one-dimensional or stereotypical character, so she made sure to give Minah different superpowers through good morals.
In this interview, Dr. Yaqoob shared the unique way she created the main character, Minah, and her experience writing books. Overall, it was fascinating to hear about Dr. Yaqoob’s experience writing books and how she strives to put a unique spin on her stories.
Tell me a little about yourself.
First, thank you for this interview. My name is Dr. Amina Yaqoob, and I was born and raised in Pakistan. I have a Ph.D. in Plant Biotechnology. I defended my dissertation in 2021 and served as a Research Associate at the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) at the University of Punjab for the past few years. I am a founder of Morality Tales, a private company developing children’s story books and customized books. I am a story writer and Illustrator. I love traveling, canvas painting, sketching, cooking, digital drawings, and gardening.
What led to the creation of Minah?
A few months back, I discussed my plan to launch a book series with my friend. Though my friend has no experience with storybooks, he has great aesthetic taste in arts and movies. It won’t be wrong to say he was the first person to motivate me to create this series. Even the name, Minah was suggested by him. I must say, his role is like a primer here. In Molecular Biology, when DNA has to replicate itself, a primer first attaches to its strand and allows the addition of new bases. Once the primer gets attached to the DNA strand, the process of DNA replication starts promptly, and the new bases continue to attach themselves to the chain. The attachment of primer is the crucial step in replication. In the same way, my friend played a key role in the process of creating this book series. He seeded the main idea, and I planted that idea into the storybook.
Does one of the Minah hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
That’s a great question—a big YES to this question. The main character, Minah, has a special place in my heart. The name Minah originated from the Arabic language, meaning trustworthy and faithful. I envisioned a mischievous child with a kind heart while illustrating this character. It won’t be wrong to say that I somehow pictured my own childhood through Minah. I, therefore, tried to give her a mixed-race girl wearing a stylish hijab, and I am pretty sure that the readers would love that unique look of my little superhero.
What made you connect morality with superpowers?
I tried to convey a message that any child, whether a boy or a girl, regardless of race and nationality, can find out hidden superpowers just like Minah. Each storybook in this series will tell a new life event of Minah, where she will successfully discover her new superpower. It’s not just about Minah, who realizes herself being a Supergirl, but each storybook will teach the readers about the simple ways how they can become superheroes. Each story will conclude with a moral lesson. I include the characters of different races to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. My mission is to inspire all children to believe in themselves and their own hidden superpowers. And if they work hard enough, they can achieve anything they want in life, just like Minah and all the other superheroes in my stories.
Tell me about your first experience of writing your books.
As we know, the first step is always difficult; my first children’s book, “Fibre for your fashion,” was published in 2020. However, I created it in 2019 but published it on Amazon in 2020. That story I wrote when my nine-year-old niece asked me what a scientist does in the name of plant biotechnology. I even mentioned that booklet in my defense presentation, and the audience was surprised to see that attractive way of explaining my research work to children.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
While writing and illustrating my books, the most interesting thing I discovered was that educating a child through a pictorial story is the best way of training or teaching them. I feel energetic when I put my vision into words and bring that vision to life through gravitating illustrations. I believe that we should promote the culture of book reading among our children. This is the best way of teaching, training, and educating a child.
How can people connect with you, find your books, etc.?
People can connect with me at the official website Moralitytales.com and on social media and email addresses there.
Twitter handle: @MoralityTales
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087593566661
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Those interested in illustration services can contact me via Fiverr: https://www.fiverr.com/users/aminayaqoob429/seller_dashboard.