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The Emma Press


My Sneezes Are Perfect

My Sneezes Are Perfect


Poems by Rakhshan Rizwan, with Yusuf Samee. Illustrated by Benjamin Phillips.

“I don’t want to have a beard.

It’s my worst nightmare

to have poky hair follicles

sticking out from my chin.

It’s going to be a very sad day

when I grow hair from my face.”

An Emma Press Children’s Poetry Collection

Approximate reading age: for reading aloud to children aged 6+; for children aged 8+ to read on their own

Page count: 96

Publication date: 18th February 2021

GTIN: N/A SKU: 9781912915682 Categories: , , , Tag:

Rakhshan Rizwan

Rakhshan Rizwan works as an Acquisitions Editor. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Utrecht University. Her poetry pamphlet, Paisley (The Emma Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the Saboteur Award and the Michael Marks Poetry Prize. Her collection of children’s poetry, My Sneezes are Perfect (The Emma Press, 2021) documents the difficulties of moving countries, and living through a pandemic from the perspective of a young child. Her book Kashmiri Life Narratives: Human Rights, Pleasure, and the Local Cosmopolitan (Routledge, 2020) looks at how Kashmiri authors use innovative languages of happiness to do human rights advocacy. Her writing has appeared in Aaduna, Nimrod, Postcolonial Text and Blue Lyra Review, among others. She is on the editorial team of the children’s poetry journal Tyger Tyger Magazine. She is from Lahore, Pakistan, has lived in Germany and the Netherlands, and currently lives in the Bay Area of North California, US.


What’s your favourite food? Who’s your best friend? Have you tried to grow a rock? Aren’t beards weird? Did you ever move house and miss where you used to live? Didn’t a lot change when the pandemic started?

My Sneezes Are Perfect is a collection of poems in the voice of a small boy who wants to tell you about all the things he’s learning, all the time. During the book, he moves from the Netherlands to America and has to adjust to his new life there. Then Covid-19 hits and his world changes all over again.

‘A serious, engaging and thought-provoking collection of poems, observations, meditations and memories.’ The School Reading List

‘This collection for children, written by Rakhshan Rizwan with the help of her 6-year-old son, seems to me to be the perfect mix of fun and thoughtfulness. I loved spending time in the company of the child narrating these poems and getting his take on the world.’ Lorraine Mariner, The National Poetry Library 

Watch Rakhshan read from My Sneezes Are Perfect:

Additional information

Dimensions 12.3 × 18.4 cm

Print, eBook

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