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Orca Immigration and Refugees through May 2023

Journey of the Midnight Sun
By (author): Shazia Afzal Illustrated by: Aliya Ghare
Shazia Afzal ,

Illustrated by :

Aliya Ghare


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Picture book, Sewn, Paper over boards
Hardcover , Picture book, Sewn, Paper over boards


Juvenile: Age (years) 3 - 5, Grade (CAN) P - K, Grade (US) P - K, Reading age 3 - 5
Mar 15, 2022
Print Run: 5000
$21.95 CAD


8.75in x 10.75 x 0.38 in | 420 gr

Page Count:

32 pages


32 Colour illustrations
FSC certified – mixed sources C016245
Orca Book Publishers
Picture storybooks|Children’s / Teenage general interest: Architecture, buildings and construction|Children’s / Teenage general interest: Transport and vehicles|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Diversity, equality and inclusion|c 2010 to c 2019|Interest age: from c 3 years|Relating to Islamic / Muslim people and groups
Northwest Territories
Muslim Bookstagram Awards — Best Muslim Non-Fiction Book 2022, Winner JLG Gold Standard Selection 2022, Commended OLA Best Bets Top Ten 2022, Commended Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2023, Commended CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2022, Commended Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award 2023, Short-listed
  • Short Description
A beautiful picture book based on the true story of the Midnight Sun Mosque that traveled 4,000 kilometers across Canada to become one of the most northern mosques in the world.
A small northern community is about to get a huge delivery.

This is the true story of the journey of the Midnight Sun Mosque.

In 2010 a Winnipeg-based charity raised funds to build and ship a mosque to Inuvik, one of the most northern towns in Canada’s Arctic. A small but growing Muslim community there had been using a cramped trailer for their services, but there just wasn't enough space. The mosque travelled over 4,000 kilometers on a journey fraught with poor weather, incomplete bridges, narrow roads, low traffic wires and a deadline to get on the last barge heading up the Mackenzie River before the first winter freeze. But it made it just in time and is now one of the most northern mosques in the world.

This beautiful picture book reminds us that the collective dream of fostering a multicultural and tolerant Canada exists and that people of all backgrounds will come together to build bridges and overcome obstacles for the greater good of their neighbors.

Key Selling Points

  • Based on the true story of the construction and transportation of a mosque to mainland Canada’s northern-most town, Inuvik, a journey of 4,200 km.
  • This book shines a light on the Muslim community in the Canadian North.
  • Both author and illustrator identify as Muslim.
  • Illustrator's debut picture book.

Shazia Afzal has been a teacher and storyteller for over twenty years. Having immigrated to Canada in 2002, Shazia sought to live near her community mosque with every move. Because of her firsthand understanding of the challenges Muslim families face in new communities, the incredible story behind the construction and transportation of the Midnight Sun Mosque resonated with Shazia. She felt compelled to share the story with children who may not have heard of its epic adventure and to remind young readers that it is a blessing to live in a country where people are free to practice their faith. Shazia lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

Aliya Ghare graduated from OCAD University, where she majored in illustration and minored in English, with the hope of combining the two disciplines to write and illustrate children’s picture books and graphic novels. She enjoys creating visually rich and poetic imagery, and exploring social and political issues, as well as human interest subjects, in her work. In addition to illustrating picture books, her illustrative works range from editorial to advertising, surface design and more. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and Adobe, and has been awarded by and published in the Applied Arts and 3x3 magazines. Aliya lives in Toronto.

Marketing and Promotional Plans

  • Print and online advertising campaigns
  • Promotion at national and regional school, library and trade conferences
  • Extensive ARC distribution, including NetGalley
  • Blog and social media promotion
  • Outreach in Orca newsletters

“Shows how people from different cultures and religions came together to complete a project that helped a community feel welcomed and loved. Highly Recommended.” - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Ghare's scenic, digital illustrations do the heavy lifting in this intriguing story narrated in straightforward, spare text… A simple, celebratory story of community collaboration and religious tolerance.” - Kirkus Reviews

“I LOVED the book! It’s delightful! Love the illustrations. Love the way you handled the story. Masha Allah tabarakullah feeq!” - Rukhsana Khan, author

“A lovely recounting of how the Inuvik people received their first mosque. Afzal portrays this important historical event in a way which highlights community togetherness and human kindness. A treat for all children, teaching them that the seemingly impossible can sometimes be accomplished with some good-heartedness and a bit of teamwork.” - Hend Hegazi, author, editor, and writing coach

“It is a sweet instance of real life being harder to believe than fiction. It warms your heart and reminds you that there are so many good people doing selfless things for the benefit of others, every single day, subhanAllah.” - Islamic School Librarian

“Shazia celebrates the multicultural effort of the people who worked hard to get the mosque to its destination. Aliya's images brings such diversity to life through her colour and costuming of the people involved. Congratulations to Shazia and Aliya for telling us the awesome journey of the Midnight Sun Mosque in such a charming way." - Katherine Bullock, PhD President, Compass Books

“An uplifting, effectively delivered account of acceptance, support, and solidarity.” - Booklist

“Many emotions are shown in the clear and colorful illustrations that follow the mosque...The story is a testament to the good will and support that reflect on 'helpers' - people who make our world a much better place.” - Sal's Fiction Addiction

“Striking, and the spreads convey just how massive an undertaking this was…It’s epic, and an example of strong faith and community.” - School Library Journal

“A muted palette and clean art style accompany the straightforward narrative of a great feat of cooperation and community support.” - Cooperative Children's Book Center

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