Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 24, 2022

Book Giveaway: – ONE WISH by M.O. Yuksel

M.O. Yuksel has a new picture book, ONE WISH, illustrated by Mariam Quraishia and published by HarperCollins. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the USA.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Mindy and Mariam.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Fatima had one wish . . .

Fatima al-Fihri loved to learn. She wanted to know everything, like how birds flew, why the sky was blue, and how flowers grew. But more than anything, she wanted a school for all, where anyone could study and become whatever they wanted, like teachers, scientists, and doctors.

As she grew older, Fatima carried her one wish inside her, through good times and bad. Fueled by her faith and her determination, she worked hard to make her one wish come true. For over a thousand years, Fatima’s one wish—her school—served students and scholars from around the globe, and it continues to do so today!

With lyrical text by M. O. Yuksel (author of In My Mosque) and stunning illustrations by Mariam Quraishi, this true-life portrait of an extraordinary Muslim woman shows the importance of never giving up on your dreams and how we all have the power to change the world for the better.


Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Kathy!

I first learned about Fatima al-Fihri twelve years ago at an exhibit I attended in NYC. I was surprised that I had never heard about this incredible woman before. I wasn’t an author at the time, and I had no aspirations of becoming one, perhaps because growing up, I never saw books that had characters who looked like me or that reflected my culture, so it didn’t cross my mind that it might be a career option. To me it seemed like something so unattainable, I didn’t think of dreaming it. After the exhibit, I didn’t have the “ah-ha” moment of wanting to write a story about Fatima al-Fihri. Instead, I tucked her away in my heart and wished more people knew about her.

A few years later, I was invited by my son’s preschool teacher to read a book about our Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha. I happily obliged. But I was surprised I couldn’t find any traditionally published books for this age group. I had to keep my promise, so I wrote one, starring my son as the main character, of course! The kids loved it! And his teacher suggested I publish it because schools need diverse books especially when they are studying about different holidays. That small invitation and the realization that there was a large gap in the marketplace for Muslim stories and voices got my wheels turning. Can I become an author after all?

That’s when my desire to write a picture book biography about Fatima al-Fihri surfaced. I wanted to share the remarkable story of this woman who founded the oldest university in the world over 1,200 years ago in Fez, Morocco.

I researched and read everything I could find about her, and the university she founded. I scoured through books, magazine and newspaper articles, websites, conference papers, podcasts, and documentaries. The more research I did, the more questions popped up.

I reached out to scholars and experts for help. I was very fortunate to find not one but two scholars – Dr. Schumann at Princeton University, and Dr. Sadiqi at Fez University, who generously guided me throughout my research process, answering my questions, helping me clarify facts, and providing me with more resources.

I wrote several drafts of ONE WISH. To get an idea of which perspective and structure would work best, I wrote it in different point of views – from first to second to third person. When I had writer’s block, I even wrote it from the university’s perspective. After 250-plus drafts of writing, workshopping, critiquing, and revising over a period of five years, I consoled myself – no writing is wasted, I’m learning with each step.

This was my first picture book biography endeavor and writing about a 9th century woman was no small feat. It was painfully hard! I wanted to quit many times, especially when my manuscript was rejected by multiple agents. But my passion for the project wouldn’t subside. I continued revising and submitting to agents until I signed with Jenna Pocius in 2018. A year of submissions to editors, and many more rejections later, HarperCollins acquired it! Hooray!!!

But the writing wasn’t over yet. I continued revising with my wonderful editor, Megan Ilnitzki, until it was just right, and ready to be illustrated.

I was delighted to see Mariam Quraishi’s illustrations of ONE WISH and how she brought the story of Fatima al-Fihri to life. Mariam’s hand-drawn paintings are inviting and full of warmth, transporting us to life in 9th century Tunisia and Morocco.

What I’ve learned so far in my journey is that writing is a matter of perseverance and patience. So, for anyone struggling with a manuscript, know that you’re not alone. Keep going, even if it’s tiny steps. Don’t give up!


M.O. Yuksel is usually on the soccer field cheering for her kids, or traveling to exotic places, and immersing herself in the local culture when she’s not writing about little-known heroes and diverse cultures. She’s the award-winning author of In My Mosque, illustrated by Hatem Aly, and upcoming picture book biography One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World’s Oldest University, illustrated by Mariam Quraishi. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in the education field for over twenty years as an administrator and a teacher. Visit her online at


Mariam Quraishi is an illustrator and designer living in New York. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Mariam favors traditional media, namely watercolor and gouache, for her work. In her free time, she can be found painting the beautiful champa trees and motia flowers from her hometown of Karachi. Whether the chai stains you find in her work are intentional or accidental, she’ll never tell! To see her latest creations, please visit

Mindy, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I loved learning about Fatima al-Fihri and the World’s Oldest University. I am so happy that you wrote her story. It is helping to educate us about another strong woman who changed the world. Mariam’s illustrations are gorgeous and have even you a stunning book. Good luck!

Here is the link to Amazon. I found it hard to find the book, so this might help.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Beautiful! I love how you wrote a story when you found none. Perfect! Congratulations and best wishes!


  2. What a beautiful story. I’m delighted Mindy wrote Fatima al-Fihri’s important story. Can’t believe she started a university in the 9th century. Enjoyed learning about Mindy’s journey and those who guided her. 250 drafts — I’m impressed at how she played with different narrative voices. And the illustrations are perfect. Will be checking out this important book..


  3. I so love your journey and getting to know Fatima! Cant wait to read!


  4. What a great story. I know lots of kids who would find it just as inspirational as I do. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted:, and shared:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!


  5. Retweeted 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us all 🙂


  6. Such an interesting story! Thank you for sharing it with us. And congratulations!!


  7. Mindy, thank you so much for sharing your journey. I’m so glad you kept going and didn’t give up. I can’t wait to read One Wish. Congratulations!


  8. This looks so very lovely! I would love to win a copy for my ESL classroom.


  9. Thank you for sharing your story! And CONGRATULATIONS on your book birthday tomorrow! This business can be so difficult, so I really appreciate when other authors share their publishing journeys. I find it encouraging. 💕


  10. Congratulations, Mindy! This sounds wonderful!


  11. I love a good backstory! Thanks for sharing yours and giving so many people hope!


  12. Would love this book!


  13. I learned about this book recently and I’m excited to read it! I have it on hold at my library. Congratulations on your successful journey to publication! 🙂


  14. I’m excited to read this!

    I wrote an earlier comment that’s not showing up; apologies if this turns out to be a double post.


  15. Congratulations on your beautiful book. I’m excited to read it. I’m an email subscriber and shared:


  16. Thank you for sharing your journey! It reminds me to never give up! Congrats on the publication of your book, M.O. Yuksel.


  17. This is such a beautiful book! Congrats, Mindy & Mariam!


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