by Marzieh Abbas

Before I jump into my guest blog post, I want to thank you for having me, Tara! It’s such a pleasure to be here talking about my debut picture book for the traditional US market. Your blog has been a favorite ever since I began writing in 2019.

Now, let’s talk about how A DUPATTA IS… came to be:

Long before I began writing for children, I came across a photograph when my mom was cleaning out her drawers. It was one of us sisters wrapped in a dupatta, an oversized South-Asian scarf, that had been tied like a sari. It was from the time we were visiting Karachi to see my Dadi, my grandma. She always wore saris and loved to dress us girls up in pseudo-saris, using fancy dupattas.

A few years later, she passed away. My father, the youngest of three sons, along with us, moved back to Pakistan to be with her in her last years. A few weeks after she passed, we noticed my dad had been sleeping with her dupatta tucked beside his pillow. He had asked my mother never to wash it, as it held her scent and helped hold her memory close.

Not only did this stay with me for a long time, it was the spark of an idea for my debut picture book, A DUPATTA IS… (illustrated by Anu Chouhan) which releases today, April 11, 2023!

Once Anu started sharing her illustrations, I was moved to tears. Her detailed settings, inspired by her own childhood with her grandma, resembled my Dadi’s home, right down to the bangle stand and wooden cupboard.

The story came full circle when my mom cleared out a cupboard of my Dadi’s dupattas and saris and sent over one of her favourites for me. It was almost exactly the same as the dupatta Anu had illustrated in her first spread. Have a look! I used it as a backdrop for this shot:

Thank you, Marzieh! What a beautiful story behind your story!

Blog readers, Marzieh would love if you could join her for virtual book launch tomorrow, April 12, 2023 at 10 a.m. EST. You can register here.

Marzieh is also giving away a 30-minute AMA session! 

Leave one comment below to enter. A random winner will be selected in two weeks!

Good luck!

Marzieh Abbas is a baker-turned-award-winning author. She loves adding magic to her creations- whether that’s a seven- layered rainbow cake or the books she writes for children all over the world. She enjoys learning new skills, jumping rope, sipping chai, and observing nature. A DUPATTA IS… is her debut picture book in the traditional American market. She has several upcoming children’s books including AWE-SAMOSAS (Clarion, 2024), HENNA IS…(Feiwel and Friends, 2024) and YASMEEN LARI, GREEN ARCHITECT (Clarion, 2024). Marzieh is a member of SCBWI and a graduate of the Lyrical Language Lab and Children’s Book Academy. Marzieh dreams of owning a talking parrot someday. But, until then, she lives in Pakistan with her husband and children who inspire her every day. She is represented by Lynnette Novak at The Seymour Agency. Visit her on the web at, Instagram @marziehabbas_author and Twitter @MarziehAbbas.