Ranya Malouf’s story is one of perseverance. When her classmates laughed and discouraged her from publishing the children’s book she originally developed in a graphics class, she held her head high and spent the next year having her work critiqued and edited. Her determination ultimately paid off, and by the time graduation arrived she had already received two publishing contracts.
But Ranya did not laugh back. Instead, she offered them the same advice she gives in her book: never give up on your dreams.
Blue Fish’s Secret Wish is the story of a fish names Sara who dreams of flying, but she accepts her life under the water until a magical fisherman changes her life forever. Blue Fish parallels Ranya’s life in a number of ways. Ranya was raised in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, where her parents taught her to give to those who have less than her. As a young girl she gave away her lunch money on a daily basis, and as a successful businesswoman she was able to contribute a major portion of her salary to charities. A few years ago her financial situation changed dramatically, but she was still determined to find a way to make a positive impact on society.
Ranya contributes the profit from her book as well as 5 percent of her annual royalties to children’s foundation. The Blue Fish is named Sara in honor of Ranya’s cousin who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of two. Today Sara is 14, and like her cousin she is filled with hope and optimism. According to Ranya, Sara loves the character inspired by her and her aunt, and the two attend fundraising events together, selling copies of the book and raising money for children’s foundations.
Ranya will be travelling to Toronto, where Sara lives, where the two will be attending a fundraising event for the Childhood Foundation for Cancer. Ranya hopes to gain attention for her work at local book signings and fundraising events, and is currently looking forward to having Part Two of her book published soon, this time the message is about the value of teamwork; that people can make a difference if they are willing to work together.
“This story is about me, about all my dreams,” Ranya said. “This is the way I am - in my heart - giving this important message to children. Don’t give up.”