Pakistani children’s author Shazaf Haider’s recent book A Firefly In The Dark has been awarded a literary prize by the young readers across the border.
The organisers of Peek a Book Children Literature Festival in Mumbai took to Facebook to share that Haider’s book has won their Children’s Choice Award, judged by three young readers in their early teens.
Published in April 2018, A Firefly In The Dark revolves around a young girl, who starts living with her grandmother after her father is injured in an accident and mother suffers from depression. The novel has a supernatural element as the grandmother’s fantastical stories turn out to be true.
Haider took to Twitter to express her gratitude and shared, “So Firefly has won the Peek a Book Children Festival’s prize. The jurors are 13, 14 and 15 years old and that just makes my day.”
She continued, “Very thrilled that children and pre-adults are liking Sharmeen and Jugnu and the stories of the Jinn.”
“My jurors were teenagers and their comments on the book have made my day,” she further tweeted. “This book was really fascinating because it involved so many myths and so much magic in it . Was a really satisfying read – Fatema Tambawalla.”
Sharing the evaluation of her other jurors, Ashwini Karthik, 15 she revealed, “‘I loved the premise and the narrative. The story was scary, full of suspense and very well told. I loved the characters, especially the girl and Jugnu. It was a book that showed adults as flawed and capable of cruelty and bad choices, something not seen often in children’s books.”
The third juror, Samina Bandukwala, 13, commented, “And the last juror said: Clearly the winner! Even though I got a bit creeped out reading it in bed at night I couldn’t put it down.”
There were two other authors nominated for the same prize.