ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — A local mother was tired of seeing her children under-represented in books, so she decided to take things into her own hands.
For Khadijah Van Brakle, inspiration for her first novel came from her children.
“When they were all teenagers and the youngest one is now 20, there was not one traditionally published book that had a Black-American Muslim main character,” said VanBrakle.
She started working on the novel in 2018, and after many phases of corrections and edits, “Fatima Tate Takes the Cake” was born.
“I just wanted to show a Black-American Muslim teenager that goes through regular coming-of-age issues,” said VanBrakle.
The novel is about the girl trying to follow her dreams.
“The main character, Fatima, wants to become a pastry chef, and her parents are not in support of that,” said VanBrakle.
VanBrakle said all of her kids played a role in its creation.
“My other daughter, she was the go-to in terms of, ‘Would teenagers say that?’ Because I wrote the book when she was in high school,” said VanBrakle. “My oldest girl has asked me, ‘Do not include anything about my life’,” said VanBrakle.
VanBrakle said the support here in Albuquerque has been unbelievable.
“Page One has signed copies. They’ve been amazing they made me flyers, and now, I have an order flyer from them. Books on the Bosque, where I had my launch event his past Saturday, has signed copies,” said VanBrakle, and that’s just some of the places supporting her.
You can also find a little taste of home inside.
“We did have fun because it’s set here in Albuquerque, so when people read the book or if they read the book they will see a certain cafe on Menaul that has all glass windows, Flying Star, they will see the Pino Trail, her favorite specialty baking shop on Lomas,” said VanBrakle.
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She hopes as people read about Fatima, they are inspired to share their own stories and culture.
“We want all of the voices, so I really don’t want people to be discouraged if they have a story to tell,” said VanBrakle.
VanBrakle is currently working with her publisher on future novels including a picture book for younger readers.