Sophia’s Journal : Time Warp 1857
Author: Najiyah Diana Helwani
Publisher: Muslim Writers Publishing (2008)
Pages: 208 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Sophia is an American Muslim teenager whose father is Arab and whose mother is an American convert. Sophia is a high school sophomore who’s on the verge of getting her driver’s permit and embarking on a summer of mall visits and evenings at Café Rumi with her friends. Intelligent, feisty, determined and normal… those are most definitely the words that describe Sophia Ahmed, the young Muslim heroine of Sophia’s Journey: Time Warp 1857. During a bike ride with her family near Lawrence, Kansas, anxiety-ridden Sophia falls into a river and is washed downstream. She emerges in 1857 – smack in the middle of Bleeding Kansas. Sophia is aghast to find that slavery is going on in her adopted community, and she and begins to fight for the freedom of the slaves she knows. A local boy captures Sophia’s heart, but when he proposes marriage, Sophia is torn about marrying outside her faith. An old Gambian slave, who is still a closet Muslim, helps her work out her fears, and this causes an exciting, dangerous and unexpected turn of events. The author researched historical types of food, clothing and the way of life in 1857 Kansas, USA. Readers will love learning about the way of life early frontier settlers lived. The book has a glossary and some unique recipes that are specific to the book’s period in history. This book will be a welcome addition to any Language Arts reading and/or American History program. About the Author Najiyah Diana Helwani is a teacher and freelance writer whose published credits include poetry and magazine and newspaper articles. Sophia’s Journey: Time Warp 1857 is the first book in a planned historical fiction series and her first published Islamic fiction novel. Raised on the windswept prairies of Kansas, Najiyah’s love of her American roots blends beautifully with her Islamic faith, and she strives to show people that the two are not mutually exclusive. Najiyah currently teaches English in Damascus, Syria, where she lives with her husband and six children. When she is in the USA she conducts workshops on Islam and the history of USA relations with the Middle East. http://www.MuslimWritersPublishing.com
It took me a long time to get motivated to actually start typing the first pages of a book that was almost out of print in my head. It was loneliness that finally convinced me to do it. This loneliness reminded me of when I was in Kansas City in 1986; alone in a foreign country, away from family and friends. I didn’t know what would become of me.
The story of Kansas City is not a unique one. A vibrant town established on the bank of a river next to fields of wheat that fed the nation. A trade center at the crossroads of trails full of travelers searching for new opportunities. Kansas City, in a way, is like my home town: Damascus, Syria. An oasis on the bank of a river next to a garden of rich soil that fed the whole region. A cosmopolitan center for trade at the crossroads of trails full of travelers from remote frontiers. The only difference is that Damascus’ story started over 4,000 years ago…
The story of Kansas City is about 200 years old. A story of opportunity, sacrifice and wit. A story of many people whose work you might already know, and some you may never have heard of. Early heroes who have come and gone, and others who are still among us. Their names may have never been mentioned before, but their legacy is unquestionably vital to the effort of establishing a large and vibrant community such as ours. Kansas City blossomed into its current state through the contribution of its citizens – including its Muslim and Arab citizens.
It is to those heroes, their families, and future newcomers that I present this work. Because now I know what became of me. I became a man with a family in Kansas City.
“History of Arabs and Muslims in the Heartland of America”.