‘My Friend Suhana’ Wins 2016 Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award

Loving Healing Press is proud to announce that its children’s title My Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy, by Shaila Abdullah and Aanyah Abdullah, has been declared a winner of the 2016 Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award.

The review committee of the award has decided to present the picture book award to authors Shaila Abdullah and Aanyah Abdullah, the mom-daughter team that created this heart-wining and empowering book for children with special needs. My Friend Suhana is the illustrated story of a little girl who finds that she can reach her friend with cerebral palsy via her art.

Shaila and Aanyah Abdullah

Shaila and Aanyah Abdullah

The wining authors will be presented the award in a ceremony at the opening session of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities Conference at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 20, 2016.

It’s worth mentioning that Shaila Abdullah’s novel Saffron Dreams (Modern History Press, 2009) has won multiple awards, has been adopted in many multicultural and ethnic studies programs, and is recognized as one of the 50 Greatest Works of Immigration Literature in United States.

To Shaila Abdullah, this book holds a special place among all her publications as it is based on a real-life friendship – that between Aanyah and Suhana, non-communicative girl with cerebral palsy whom Aanyah met at a community center around 5 years ago. The bonding of the two girls touched Shaila deeply at a time when she also alarming gap in children’s literature dealing with disability, especially those that encouraged friendships between mainstream children and children with special needs. As she tells:

“I felt that a book like My Friend Suhana would be instrumental in providing tips and tools for both children and parents of special needs children who often find it hard to explain their children’s disability to other children.”

Beyond the book, Aanyah is constantly researching resources to improve the life of her friend Suhana. Shaila tells that this past summer, Aanyah designed a vibrating vest for Suhana that is designed to relax her. Aanyah is also working on a prototype of a communicative device for Suhana at school.

Visit the book’s website http://myfriendsuhana.com/ to learn more about the book and its creators.