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Children's Nonfiction Islam

Journey of the Midnight Sun

by (author) Shazia Afzal

illustrated by Aliya Ghare

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Mar 2022
Islam, Cultural Heritage, Values & Virtues, Cars & Trucks
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


This is the true story of the journey of the Midnight Sun Mosque.

In 2010 a Winnipeg-based charity raised funds to build and ship a mosque to Inuvik, one of the most northern towns in Canada’s Arctic. A small but growing Muslim community there had been using a cramped trailer for their services, but there just wasn't enough space. The mosque travelled over 4,000 kilometers on a journey fraught with poor weather, incomplete bridges, narrow roads, low traffic wires and a deadline to get on the last barge heading up the Mackenzie River before the first winter freeze. But it made it just in time and is now one of the most northern mosques in the world.

This beautiful picture book reminds us that the collective dream of fostering a multicultural and tolerant Canada exists and that people of all backgrounds will come together to build bridges and overcome obstacles for the greater good of their neighbors.

About the authors

Shazia Afzal has been a teacher and storyteller for over twenty years. Having immigrated to Canada in 2002, Shazia sought to live near her community mosque with every move. Because of her firsthand understanding of the challenges Muslim families face in new communities, the incredible story behind the construction and transportation of the Midnight Sun Mosque resonated with Shazia. She felt compelled to share the story with children who may not have heard of its epic adventure and to remind young readers that it is a blessing to live in a country where people are free to practice their faith. Shazia lives in Mississauga, Ontario.


Shazia Afzal's profile page

Aliya Ghare graduated from OCAD University, where she majored in illustration and minored in English, with the hope of combining the two disciplines to write and illustrate children’s picture books and graphic novels. She enjoys creating visually rich and poetic imagery, and exploring social and political issues, as well as human interest subjects, in her work. In addition to illustrating picture books, her illustrative works range from editorial to advertising, surface design and more. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and Adobe, and has been awarded by and published in the Applied Arts and 3x3 magazines. Aliya lives in Toronto.


Aliya Ghare's profile page


  • Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets Top Ten
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Winner, Muslim Bookstagram Awards — Best Muslim Non-Fiction Book
  • Commended, JLG Gold Standard Selection

Editorial Reviews

“A lovely recounting of how the Inuvik people received their first mosque. Afzal portrays this important historical event in a way which highlights community togetherness and human kindness. A treat for all children, teaching them that the seemingly impossible can sometimes be accomplished with some good-heartedness and a bit of teamwork.”

Hend Hegazi, author, editor, and writing coach

“Shazia celebrates the multicultural effort of the people who worked hard to get the mosque to its destination. Aliya's images brings such diversity to life through her colour and costuming of the people involved. Congratulations to Shazia and Aliya for telling us the awesome journey of the Midnight Sun Mosque in such a charming way."

Katherine Bullock, PhD President, Compass Books

“Striking, and the spreads convey just how massive an undertaking this was…It’s epic, and an example of strong faith and community.”

School Library Journal

“Ghare's scenic, digital illustrations do the heavy lifting in this intriguing story narrated in straightforward, spare text… A simple, celebratory story of community collaboration and religious tolerance.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Shows how people from different cultures and religions came together to complete a project that helped a community feel welcomed and loved. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“It is a sweet instance of real life being harder to believe than fiction. It warms your heart and reminds you that there are so many good people doing selfless things for the benefit of others, every single day, subhanAllah.”

Islamic School Librarian

“A muted palette and clean art style accompany the straightforward narrative of a great feat of cooperation and community support.”

Cooperative Children's Book Center

“Many emotions are shown in the clear and colorful illustrations that follow the mosque...The story is a testament to the good will and support that reflect on 'helpers' - people who make our world a much better place.”

Sal's Fiction Addiction

“I LOVED the book! It’s delightful! Love the illustrations. Love the way you handled the story. Masha Allah tabarakullah feeq!”

Rukhsana Khan, author

“An uplifting, effectively delivered account of acceptance, support, and solidarity.”


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