Trains and Trainers - Sarah Musa

Trains and Trainers, Malik and his autistic brother Badr share a love of trains. But Malik is angry when time and time again his fun gets interrupted by Badr. Mama always tells him that Badr is a blessing, but Malik doesn’t want to hear it.

Can the boys figure out how to share their fun?

I wrote this book from based the words of my late grandmother, Sitti Hasna, may Allah have mercy on her. She was mother to my Uncle Yusef, who had an intellectual disability. Sitti would remind her children that Yusef was a blessing and MashaAllah he was. He had a way of expressing himself that had my uncles, aunts, and cousins always quoting him. He was loved dearly by all the family. He has also since passed away, my Allah have mercy on him.

The shoe train was inspired by my brother Abdurrahman. We had gone out one day and were held up at a train stop. And Abdurrahman, who was probably only about five or six years old, was captured by the view of dozens of train cars sliding by.

It must have rolled around in his head for hours until finally he gathered up all the shoes in the house and constructed his own train. We were a family of eight and we had lots and lots of shoes.

I can still see it! It was just before maghrib. The shoes were lit up dimly by the dull reddish glow that came in from the windows. Abdurrahman’s shoe train stretched across our small apartment. My siblings and I all came out of our rooms to admire his innovation.


These layers of my family history being baked into this story make it extra special to me. I hope you all enjoy it!


Paperback - 9780860379034


🖊️Sarah Musa grew up in rural New Mexico on a small farm with chickens, goats, cats, and rabbits. With nine siblings she always had someone to play with or someone to talk to. Growing up as a Muslim in the United States was challenging. She struggled with feeling that she wasn’t good enough or that she didn’t belong. Her safe-haven was her family and often a good book. Knowing that many Muslim children struggle as she did it inspired her to write for them. She hopes that her writing assures them that they are normal.

🖌️Rania Hasan is an illustrator and graphic designer. Her passion for telling stories moved her towards game art and picture books where she has been working since. She has created background art and character spirits for games, as well as having the pleasure of illustrating many children's books.