arts
The World’s First Quranic Pop-up Book

Founder of Shade 7 Publishing, Hajera Memon talks to Zahra Suleman about her journey so far

Posted: 11.02.15

Past
I started Shade 7 after deciding to resign as a finance lawyer. Working around the principals of interest-based transactions began to cause an internal conflict with my faith. I wanted to pursue a career where I could learn more about my faith and make it accessible and enjoyable for others.

I received advice and support from a group of my closest and most beloved friends. We bounced around ideas, which in turn got me to ask myself, if I could do anything in the world, what would it be? Who could I, as a Muslim woman, become that would bring the most benefit to the world?

My inspiration for the book came from a heartfelt desire to establish a long-term source of beneficial knowledge, which would inspire children to learn more about Islam and their relationship with God. I loved the childhood stories I grew up with; the combination of writing and novelty publishing fast became a way for me to re-discover and share these miraculous adventures and timeless lessons from the faith. The idea of creating something unique, memorable and of exceptional quality really appealed to me. Nothing like this really existed on the Islamic publishing scene and it’s much needed in our community, so I thought I’d give it a try!

The journey has been incredible and we have had many highlights. I think the main ones for me have to be the books making it to the UK last July in time for Eid, they made the perfect presents for lots of children. Others would include orphans in India getting our pop-up book and ending the year with it being stocked in Harrods and Selfridges in London, which was a wonderful achievement.

Present
My motivations for setting up Shade 7 revolve around my faith, values and principals. The ultimate motivation is to spend time seeking and growing in beneficial knowledge and establishing a source of this in a creative and accessible way for many others to enjoy from childhood.

The popularity of the book is growing around the world, which is an incredible achievement for us. I think with the Muslim population spread all over the world, we had always anticipated our biggest markets to be overseas. Muslim countries in particular have great demand for new, innovative, exciting and creative resources for their children as well as schools. Islamic education is part of the daily curriculum in many places and so resources like our pop-up book become great tools for teachers to use in class as well to keep children engaged.

It hasn’t all been easy. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, especially as a start-up because you have limited resource, finance and time. It takes a lot of patience, persistence, determination and ultimately faith that gets you through. 

Future
The Quran is rich with magnificent, timeless stories and the direction for the future is very much to continue publishing more high quality novelty titles for children to enjoy. Some of our next stories include Noah’s Ark, the story of Prophet Joseph and a series on the Prophet Moses. We’re also hoping to develop a 3D interactive app version of our current title, as well as publishing it in different languages for the future. Also, we have a range of other novelty books planned, including a board, lift the flap and bath books, as well as more pop-up books.

Overall, our aim is for the stories of the Quran to become accessible and enjoyed by everyone, from children to adults, Muslims to Non-Muslims. Islam has much in common with the other Abrahamic faiths and we all share a core central belief in God and the Prophets. We’re all about storytelling that touches for a lifetime, making a better world for people of all faiths.

To find out more about Shade 7 Publishing visit shade7publishing.com

You can also check them out on Facebook & Twitter.
 

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