A seven-year-old girl from Halifax has become one of the town’s youngest published authors and illustrators after selling over 200 copies of her book, Ray’s Balloon Hullaballoo.
Amal Rahman, who was six at the time, wrote a story about the adventures of Ray the rabbit, who went to the moon in a hot air balloon because she thought it was made out of cheese to make a pizza.
The schoolgirl authored the story for her teacher at Lightcliffe Primary School last year. The book, which features spacemen, aliens and monsters, is inspired by Peter Bently and Mei Matsuka’s The Great Balloon Hullabaloo.
Her teacher was so impressed by the story that it was shared with the headteacher who then gave her a special Headteacher’s Award for her book.
After wowing her parents and family with her story and illustrations, little Amal was then convinced by her uncle, Amir Hussain, founder, and director of Yeme Architects in Bradford, to rewrite the book and redraw the illustrations so that it could be printed professionally.
The book, which took over two weeks for Amal to complete, was first published and shared among her classmates but has now sold over 200 copies worldwide.
The proceeds from the book go to the Masuku Academy School in Malawi built by the British charity Drop of Compassion, in memory of Amal’s uncle, Muzaffer Hussain, who passed away from Covid-19 in 2020.
Amal’s family has also created an NFT (non-fungible token) out of Amal’s character Ray to generate funds for the school. So far, they have raised over £2265 through their Just Giving Page and an extra few hundred pounds through cash donations.
Speaking in an interview with her older sister on YouTube, Amal said: “It was really hard and long to draw the pictures, but when you finish it feels so good. It took me days to write the book.”
When asked about what advice she would give to other children who want to create a book, Amal said: “When you mess up, it is not the end of the world.”
The author’s uncle, Amir Hussain said: “Amal wrote a story at school, and they liked it so much that she was given a Headteacher’s award for it. I read it and thought it was amazing and so we talked about making the story into a book so that other children could read it.
“She spent two weeks re-writing and drawing it all out so we could make it into a published book which she gave out to her classmates. We dedicated the book to Amal’s uncle, who she was remarkably close with, and to raise funds for the Masuku Academy in Malawi.”
The architect added: “The book is about a female rabbit called Ray who gets a balloon to go to the moon to get some cheese to make a pizza. When she is there, she meets a spaceman, aliens, and a big furry monster.
“On the way back, a hole is popped in the balloon, and she comes crashing back to earth. Ray’s parents think she is dead, but she is alive and then they make a pizza. It is quite short, but a lot happens.
“We decided to make Ray into an NFT. Essentially, it is an NFT of Ray so that people can make an offer and buy the NFT. It is about bringing about awareness around NFTs and how people might use them to establish their involvement in the Metaverse.”
To purchase Ray’s Balloon Hullabaloo by Amal Rehman or to make an offer on the NFT, visit here.