Interviews, Meet the author, Uncategorized

Emma Apple on Understanding the Unseen

Emma Apple is the author and illustrator of the Owl & Cat books on Islam as well as wonderful collection of Children’s First series of books which use nature to explain the concept of God.

Emma graphic

Can you share a little bit about where you grew up, and what inspired you to become a writer?

I grew up in small towns in northern New Zealand, playing in forests and on beaches, a place that would stoke any child’s imagination. I come from a family of writers and teachers, and have myself always been an artist. Those two things naturally came together and I was inspired to write and publish stories for children when I had my own children to teach the complexities of life to.

What inspired you to write about Islam?

Any parent knows the challenges of teaching children about God. There are concepts that can be hard to ground in reality for little kids who are just figuring out the world around them. So the solution that I found worked best with my children were asking big questions, was to come up with stories using the magnitude of nature and scientific knowledge, to help them feel the concepts that are beyond human comprehension and give them real world foundations for understanding the unseen.

What is the one misconception about Muslims that you could wave your magic wand and banish forever?

The biggest misconception about Muslims is that they are somehow personally responsible for the actions of others in the name of their religion. The fear that creates for children for whom “Muslim” is a part of their identity, and the comments they hear from others about themselves and their families, can be devastating.

Check out Emma’s books in our ‘Celebrating Islam‘ book list

What is your favorite story from Islamic traditions?

The story of Noah is always a fun one to tell with children, all the animals make it animated and interactive. The story of Yunus and the whale is another one that lends itself to imaginative and adventurous retellings.


What is your biggest inspiration from Islam?

As an artist, I’m inspired by the rich artistic history, and as a writer, by the linguistic history.

And finally – Biryani or Kababs?

That’s a loaded question!  I think I have to say kebabs.




Thank you Emma Apple! Wishing you continued success with your writing!  This interview was  part of KitaabWorld’s Counter Islamophobia Through Stories campaign.

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