Shelina Manek has loved animals for as long as she can remember. Born in East Africa, her life experience has inspired her advocacy for African wildlife. Now, Shelina is sharing her love of wildlife with the younger generation. Shelina is the debut author of Are We There Yet?: Temby’s Big Journey. To celebrate the release, we sat down to chat about the book.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Hi, Shelina! Congratulations on publishing your first children’s book. Can you tell us who this book is for and why you started writing it?
SHELINA MANEK: The age group for this book is children four to eight years old. My Idea for writing children’s books came over 20 years ago. My inspiration came while doing my volunteering and advocacy for animals. This book is a way to inspire another generation (the next generation).
ML: What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing this book?
SM: My biggest challenge was the time factor, I had other personal challenges and was writing another book.
ML: Do you have a fun story or memorable moment to share from when someone read your book?
SM: The best part was when I read my grandson the story, and there is one sentence in there where Temby does not always have to snuggle with his Mama, and he right away caught on, and said, “Were you thinking about me?”.
ML: It was such a pleasure working with you on this book. What did you find most valuable about Publishing Mastermind?
SM: There is so much support, and the friendships and relations you have along the way in this community. That is priceless.
ML: If you could share one piece of advice with an aspiring author, what would it be?
SM: If you want to write a book or be an author, don’t wait. Start the process. It always works out.
ML: Lastly, what do you hope parents and children take away from Temby’s adventure?
SM: How animals, and especially elephants, are so vital to the African scenario, especially some parts of Africa, and they are so majestic. We all play a part in their survival.
ML: Thank you, Shelina, and congratulations again on your debut children’s book.
Watch the Full Interview:
Shelina Manek has been passionate about animals for almost all her life. Born in East Africa, her exposure and interest has fueled her advocacy and her push for education around the plight of African wildlife, especially elephants and rhinos, whose populations have diminished exponentially over the past few decades. In the early 90s, she walked elephants from the Metro Toronto Zoo to downtown Toronto to raise awareness. Her time among the wildlife on the Serengeti has been the most memorable and meaningful in her life.