IB: Why did you become a children’s books author/illustrator? Where you interested in stories and pictures as a child, or was it your own child that needed stories, or is it a way to make the world a better place to live in?
JF: I am a child of the 50s who has been brought up to serve the country and folks. Since my mother tongue (Somali) was then, an oral language I had to learn English when I was around 6 years of age.
I remember being fascinated by this new found language and script and copying the daily lessons in my own exercise book. I practically would rewrite the textbooks and vividly remember the first pages of my 'Oxford Wider Book1' which was the first book of a series of six books for primary schools. From there on I became a bookworm that will read any book. I always wanted to support parents and their children and became a teacher when I was in my teens (14yrs of age). Working as a curriculum and book production officer has kindled my inner liking and enthusiasm in writing. Since then my thoughts are mainly engaged in developing strategies of writing belingual books for children and their parents.
IB: Do you write also for adults?
JF: Yes, one of my first books for adults was a knitting book, plus a book about the Somali names and their meaning awaiting publication others.
IB: Do you believe that children’s books should be read by grown ups as well?
JF: Definitely and for numerous reasons:
• They are better written than books for adults. The writing is usually concise and clear, the characters interesting and the plot keeps you engaged.
• Being an author of children's books I browse through children's books to see how a certain topic was handled
• Being a primary school teacher I enjoy reading out loud to children & listening to their pros and cons & their choice of their favourite character.
• A book may hold a part of who you used to be and also what it felt like to be that person.
IB: Do you remeber when and where your first text/illustration was published?
JF: Yes, and I still have the first knitting book I sold to the department of Education in Somalia. There were others I took part in writing with a group of young writters working for the Curriculum and book production office of Somalia in the 70s.
IB: What are you working on right now?