Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mina Javaherbin
In Conversation with The Pen And Ink

by Lupe Fernandez
Edited by The Management

Exclusive Announcement!
The Secret Message written by Mina Javaherbin, based on a poem by Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and illustrated by Bruce Whatley, will be part of an anthology taught in all 4th grade classes across USA. Mina was elated with joy. This publication brings approximately one million readership for her book. 

Mina began writing The Secret Message in 2000. The text for The Secret Message was submitted to the 2004 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant for emerging, unpublished picture book writers and The Secret Message was a runner-up. Mina received the award at the Century Plaza Hotel as about two thousand other writers clapped for her. This she said she’ll never forget. After mentioning this award on her resume, Mina was noticed by Studio Goodwin Sturges which sold the book to Disney-Hyperion Books in 2006. The book came out late October of 2010. 

Mina Javaherbin
The Craft
Mina is a professional architect. She uses her architectural education for writing as well. She says, “Creative thinking has a universal gestalt and understanding the different medium of expression can help the artist apply his or her education in interchangeable forms of art.” 

“Everything I learned about Writing I Learned in Architecture” is the title of a lecture she is hoping to offer in her architecture school alumni lecture series one day. 

We talked about this in specific and she has interesting points in comparing blueprints to story outlines, foundation to plot, structure to voice and finally the infamous ARC of a story which comes directly from the word architecture.

Mina Javaherbin is also the author of Goal!, illustrated by A.G. Ford. In Goal!, a South African boy who plays soccer with his friends in an unsafe neighborhood. The boys deal with the bullies by standing together and thinking together as a team.

Soccer inspires Mina for its egalitarian nature. “It’s played all over the world.” The problems addressed in Goal! are not unique to one country. “People can learn to rally together and stand up to bullies. Soccer is a practice.”

For Goal! “The entire idea came to me in one sitting. I've been working on so many versions of soccer and nothing worked... once I realized that the games are going to be in South Africa I had the image of Ajani playing in the not so safe streets of a township and then everything flowed in.” Mina had watched the apartheid movement taking shape on their black and white TV in Iran Later she found out that activists such as Nelson Mandela had played soccer in prison to boost their morale.

The text of Goal! reads like a poem. “It reads like football cadence,” Mina said, “Action, movement. Poetry and Picture Books go together. It’s music to the ear. Literature has its own language and of course I wrote in metaphor.” Mina had minor changes from her editor. “The text should be ready to go, especially for a first time unknown author.”

High Praise
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Goal! “Uplifting and inspiring…and a gift to all soccer fans around the world.”

When the Nobel Peace prize winner Tutu wrote a quote for Mina’s book obtained by the Candlewick Press, Mina cried with joy, she said that she wrote a thank you letter for Mr. Tutu, “It was surreal to write a letter to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.”

The following are a list of awards and accolades for Goal!
  • IRA Award Winner. IRA=International Reading Association 
  • Nominated for California Young Readers 2011-2012 
  • An Irma Black finalist 
  • Nominated for the Texas Blue Bonnet Award 
  • NYPL pick for 2010 
  • Finalist for Chickadee Main Award. 
  • Smithsonian pick for 2010 
With both books the publishers had asked, which artists Mina liked. Mina gave a list to her publishers. She said that in her experience her publishers did their best to accommodate back and forth collaboration between the author and the artist and that she was delighted about this.

Charlize and Mina
Charlize Theron
At a function for the Center For Living Peace in Irvine California - Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, Mina met Charlize. “It was a charity function. Charlize is gracious, very pretty inside and out she had asked the kids, ‘What do you recommend to help stop the spread of AIDS?’ The kids had responded to Ms. Theron, ‘Give us a place to play soccer. Lighted fields at night so we can play. With no electricity, there’s too much sex, there’s nothing else to do at night.’ With this Charlize Theron is in the process of not only offering medication and lectures and awareness but also creating fundamental alternative option to channel the youth’s energy.”

A Sequel? 
When this interviewer asked Mina if there would be a sequel to Goal!? She said there would be “another book.” This interviewer suggested the following titles: 
  1. Touchdown!
  2. HomeRun!
  3. Hole-In-One!
Mina responded, “You’re not that far off.”

Last Thoughts
“I think the enthusiasm of the author,” Mina said, “to promote (their book) will excite the publisher.”
“Don’t give up.” 
“Get creative; there is nothing more fun out there!” 

The Pen And Ink Blogspot would like to thank Mina for this interview.

For more on Mina Javaherbin:
Visit her website.
Watch the exciting book trailer for Goal!
Listen to Mina read an excerpt of The Secret Message.
Representation by The Red Fox Literary agency.


  1. I want to read both books. Great interview.

  2. Makes me want to read The Secret Message. That was a nice interview! Susan: How is yours doing and your body too? I hope that you recover!

  3. Dear Catherine,
    I also recommend Goal!
    The Secret Management

  4. Great interview. They're both on my 'to get' list.

  5. I was fascinated to learn about Mina, her writing, and the idea behind her book, Goal.

    BTW, her favorite colors are blue and green - as she says - the colors of the planet Earth when seen from space.

  6. We have a winner! Woo Hoo!
    Indeed you are worthy, Miss Megan, to receive an autographed copy of The Secret Message courtesy of author Mina Javaherbin.

    Our people will contact your people to arrange delivery.

    The Management

  7. Congrats to Megan Frances for winning the copy of Mina Javaherbin's new book The Secret Message! I can't wait to read it myself!

  8. What an inspirational post, thank you, Mina!

  9. I have a new book out Soccer Star and my book launch is on April 26 2014 at San Juan Capistrano Library at 12 noon Will be serving lunch at my launch. Hope to see you there. Thank you.

  10. Thanks all. Please join me for Soccer Stat book launch at San Juan Capistrano Library April 26 2014 at noon.


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