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?
Sonia: I never thought that I will be a children's books writer, In my dreams I wanted to be a writer of travel books. However, the very first story I wrote was for children. I wrote it in prison when I was a political prisoner (between 1975 and 78). I never published it as it was confiscated along with other writings during one of the search raids conducted by prison guards. The story was about hope. I found out then that I like to write children stories. After that I did not write until late 1980s. I wrote two stories based on Palestinian folktales, both were written in English as I was intending to give English children have a glimpse on Palestinian folk tales . It was then that I found that I enjoyed writing for children. I love children's books, the imaginations, the illustrations and the worlds they create. I believe children books can help the world to be a better place.
When I write to Palestinian children, I want to tell them that there is in life other things than wars and misery, there are bright colors and that there is still hope for the future, and that they can make their world much better.
IB: Do you write also for adults?
Sonia: Currently I am writing a novel for adults , most likely it will be the only thing I write for adults. I prefer to write to children. I think I am better at speaking to children than adults.
IB: Do you believe that children's books should be read by grown ups as well?
Sonia: Yes, I believe that grown ups should read children's books. As we grow up we become so busy with making a living and facing the problems of our lives that we forget our inner child, we forget how it feels to have a pure joy in little things, I think children's books can re-connect us with that child, and perhaps if we look at things with a child's eye we will find that life is much simpler and more joyful, and yes perhaps that will help us try to make a better world.
IB: Do you remeber when and where your first text/illustration was published?
Sonia: My first two texts were published at the same time in 1996 by Tamer institute. I was very happy to see my books published, but at the same time I was worried about the reaction of the children towards them. I was very relieved and encouraged when children liked them and that was what made me continue writing for children. I have to admit that I did not like the illustrations , but then children's books publishing in Palestine was very young with no previous experience. Looking at that time now I see that children's books in Palestine have advanced immensely since then, and now we have a good number of children's illustrators who can produce beautiful illustrations.
IB: Do you have a favorite among your books?
: I have just finished the first part (book) of a novel for Children, it will come out this September. It will be three parts (books) on different historical periods in Palestine. At the moment I am working on the historical research for the second part of the novel. I am also trying to finish the novel for adults.
Böcker av Sonia Nimr på Internationella biblioteket.