Following the #parisattack at Charlie Hebdo, my illustrator Leo sent me a genuinely honest and personal email in support of the impact we're trying to make through our Ilyas and Duck cartoon characters and stories. Leo's email, however, changed my entire perspective on what's possible. No longer did I see our impact as being limited to strengthening the values and cultural identity of young Muslim kids. Rather, I realized that like Bino and Fino (African), Maya and Miguel (Latino), and Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (Chinese) who share elements of their respective cultures through their content, there was a place for Ilyas and Duck to do the same and bring to light the ethnically diverse cultures of 1.6 billion Muslims around the world that share a common set of values. To me, what Leo expressed wasn't an isolated thought but a reflection of our collective need as a society to understand one another. Thus began our effort to transform Ilyas and Duck into global ambassadors - to share their wholesome values and cultural diversity with people of all backgrounds and beliefs - and do it in a fun and entertaining way.
In the summer of 2015, we took our first step and launched a campaign to donate Ilyas and Duck storybooks to public libraries across the U.S. You can help be part of this journey. Help donate Ilyas & Duck to public libraries. Follow the simple 3-step guide on how you can get involved. It won't cost you a thing. Seriously.