Today we’re delighted to reveal the cover for Henna Is… by Marzieh Abbas, illustrated by Anu Chouhan! The book was designed by Mariam Quraishi and edited by Emily Settle, and will be released on July 23, 2024 by Feiwel & Friends. Preorder it here and here. Keep scrolling for an exclusive author’s note!
Henna is so much more than a form of temporary body art.
Henna is nature—seeds sprouted into shrubs, leaves kissed by tropical rain.
Henna is color—the orange of juicy mangoes, sun-kissed brown, or black as the feathers of crows.
Henna is fragrance—earthy and nutty, lemony and clove-y.
The intricate patterns of flowers, feathers, vines, and other symbols painted and stained onto skin has been a tradition in cultures all around the world for thousands of years. Beautiful and eye-catching, henna also carries the scents, textures, and colors of family and identity.
A word from the author:
Since I was little, the most fun part about Eid has been getting henna, also known as mehendi, on my hands and sometimes feet. Once tattooed, I enjoy inhaling the deep, earthy scent till it lasts. As I grew older, I learned henna artists hide messages in motifs. So fascinating! The messages may be symbols—like lotus flowers, peacocks, and butterflies—or names and initials, especially the names of grooms on the hands of their brides. Other than its decorative purposes, henna also has medicinal healing properties and serves as a conditioner and a natural dye for hair. It is also widely used to mark cattle, thus replacing more intrusive techniques of heat stamping used in the past. This book is an attempt to spread these fun facts, my culture, and more, about the much-loved art of henna-ing. — Marzieh Abbas
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. She is the author of A Dupatta Is…, Henna Is…, Awe-samosas! and several upcoming children’s books, a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a graduate of the Children’s Book Academy. She lives in Pakistan.
Anu Chouhan is a Punjabi-Canadian illustrator and art director. A trained animator with a background in video game development, Anu often combines her love of her cultural heritage into her art, as well as drawing inspiration from anime, nature, and global fashion. Her unique, edgy, and energetic art has garnered attention from major publications, celebrities, and influencers online. She is the illustrator of A Dupatta Is… and Henna Is…, and is also the author and illustrator of Hair Oil Magic.