Out now!

I Can Be All Three

Simon & Schuster, 2023

Our Favorite Day of the Year meets Alma and How She Got Her Name in this warm, lyrical picture book about a child who learns to celebrate her multicultural identity and finds pride in all the stories and worlds that live inside of her.

When it’s Multicultural Day at school, a young girl wonders how best to tell the story of who she is. With marigolds, mangoes, and stories of India? Fairy tales, cuckoo clocks, and German tales? Or cheeseburgers, superheroes, and American traditions?

When choosing only one doesn’t feel quite right, she realizes that stories from all three places make her who she is. With whole worlds inside her, she doesn’t have to choose just one—she can be all three.

From Kirkus Reviews:

The relatable narratorial voice and lively, momentum-packed pictures combine for a fast-paced story starring a protagonist who finds a creative solution to their problem. This child-centered story eschews pontification in favor of quirky, thought-provoking fun. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An insightful, imaginative story about embracing our full selves. 

Middle Grade

Soraya Adventure Series

Soraya and the Mermaid

Reycraft Books, 2020

Illustrated by Atieh Sohrabi and Jennifer Naalchigar

It’s not easy being the weirdest kid in fourth grade. Soraya finds her escape reading comic books about a space superhero who saves the day. But everything changes when Soraya’s class goes on a field trip to an aquarium. Is that really a mermaid in the big tank, talking to Soraya and asking for her help? Can Soraya rise to the occasion and save the day like her superhero idol?

This is a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year 2021. 

From Kirkus Reviews:

Misfit Soraya must help a mermaid escape the aquarium without being seen in this series opener.

Fourth grader Soraya’s idol is comic-book hero Nimbla Moony. Her mom wants her to make real friends, but her classmates think she’s weird because of the things she says (often inspired by Nimbla Moony’s adventures). During a field trip to the aquarium, Soraya wanders off and is surprised to spot a human face amid the coral in the Ocean Journey exhibit. Even more shocking is when the face turns out to belong to a mermaid named Estelle, asking for help. Accidentally captured by fishing nets, Estelle needs Soraya’s help getting back to her ocean kingdom. With the help of the aquarium animals, Soraya must be brave like Nimbla Moony and get Estelle out of the crowded building without anyone seeing her. In the process, Soraya and Estelle discover they have an astonishing amount in common despite their dissimilarities. Alikhan pens a sweet story of a forming friendship and how there are positives to being different. Themes of an absent parent and selflessness are also present. Sohrabi’s bright, colorful, full-page illustrations are sprinkled through the 10 short chapters, with Soraya’s comic about the adventure, illustrated by Naalchigar, at the end. Soraya has pale skin and straight, black hair, and she explains her name is Persian. Estelle has brown skin, long, curly black hair, and dark eyes.

Action, sea creatures, and a mermaid make this thoughtful adventure a delight. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Soraya and the Dragon

Reycraft Books, 2021

Months after her adventure rescuing Estelle the Mermaid from the Bayside Aquarium, Soraya is still having trouble fitting in at school and home. But when her class goes on a new field trip to the Balabrook Caverns, Soraya soon learns that new adventures and new friends are always just around the corner. Readers will delight in the second book of this popular middle grade series.


Soraya and the Yeti

Reycraft, 2022

Friends. Soraya has to pinch herself to believe it. Ever since she shared a dragon adventure with them, Naomi and Christoff actually seem to like hanging out with her. Now their fourth-grade class is on a ski trip. When Soraya discovers another magical creature in danger, will her new friends stick by her? And can she find the courage to open up to her mom, who is chaperoning the trip? What would Soraya’s comic-book hero, Nimbla Moony, do?

Chapter Books

Capstone and Smithsonian

Sophie Scholl: Daring Activist of World War II (Women Warriors of World War II)

Capstone (Smithsonian), 2022

Marika Marches for Equality (Smithsonian Historical Fiction)

Capstone (Smithsonian), 2021

Middle-schooler Marika is caught between two worlds. She and her friend Beth are passionate about women’s rights, and they plan to join a national rally to support the cause. But it’s 1970, and the equal rights movement has a lot of resistance–including from Marika’s parents. Marika wishes they were as supportive of equal rights as Beth’s parents, but Marika’s parents seem content with how things are. As the day of the Women’s Strike for Equality approaches, will Marika convince her parents to support her beliefs?

Ollie Escapes the Great Chicago Fire

Capstone (Smithsonian), 2021

Twelve-year-old Ollie is struggling to get by as an orphan in 1871 Chicago. He finds work as a servant for the wealthy Burnham family, including caring for five-year-old Leo Burnham. But Ollie has a little sister of his own–Eliza. Ollie saves every penny he can to someday get Eliza out of an orphan asylum and support them both. Then a massive fire breaks out in the city, and chaos descends. Suddenly Ollie must not only escape the burning city with little Leo, but he must find his lost sister among the wreckage as well. Will Ollie’s wits and bravery be enough to save the Burnham’s son and his own sister?

Emmi in the City: A Great Chicago Fire Survival Story

Capstone Publishing, 2019

Although Emmi has lived in Chicago for two years, she finds it hard to love her adopted city. As a German immigrant in the early 1870s, she’s often teased by her America-born peers. But when the Great Fire breaks out on October 8, 1871, Emmi and her enemies find themselves braving the smoke and flames together. Can Emmi and the others survive the danger to escape the burning city? Readers can learn the real story of the Great Chicago Fire from the nonfiction back matter in this Girls Survive story. A glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts are also provided.

“…a gripping storyline. Although all three primary characters are white, Alikhan does explore prejudices immigrants faced along with tensions between religious groups. An author’s note further explains that the Great Fire had a way of equalizing everyone. Tragedy often brings unity. . . .Fast-paced intrigue, especially for reluctant readers; there may be a plethora of survival stories, but this one doesn’t disappoint.” —Kirkus Reviews

Jake Maddox: Extreme Ice Adventure

Capstone Publishing, 2020

Nita Dara is one of ten eighth graders who has already won a scholarship to attend the Alaska Young Explorers program and learn explorer skills in an Alaskan wilderness camp; but the program is also a competition and the winner will get 5000 dollars–money that Nita’s family could really use–but on the final challenge she is paired with the super-competitive Sohail Aman, and the challenge turns deadly when they find themselves lost in the fog while hiking down a glacier, where a single misstep could mean injury and death.

Jake Maddox Girls Sports: Karate Rebels

Capstone Publishing, 2020

Karate is the most important thing in Aliyah’s life. It allows her to fight – and she’s good at that. It also makes her feel like a winner. Nothing is more important to Aliyah than taking down an opponent, especially if it’s her main rival, Suma. Things soon change with the arrival of a new student, Zoya, who also happens to be Suma’s little sister. Aliyah sees something familiar in Zoya – an anger and aggression that reminds Aliyah of herself. Upon the request of Suma, and with the approval of the sensei, Aliyah agrees to train Zoya. Through their training, she helps Zoya control her anger but also manages to learn a valuable lesson of her own – winning isn’t everything.

Jake Maddox: Storm on the Sea

Capstone, 2021

In the wake of great loss, Aisha has found comfort in sailing. And it seems the rest of her family has found comfort in pretending nothing’s changed. Frustrated with their silence, Aisha escapes one night on her family’s sail boat. Her brother, Sai, catches up to her, but before he can convince her to come back, a storm rolls in. Aisha and Sai must work through their feelings and trust in each other to survive the storm.

Jake Maddox: Rocky Mountain Disaster

Capstone, 2021

Twelve-year-old Carly has recently recovered from an illness and to celebrate, Carly, her older brother, Ajay, and her dad go on a climbing trip in the Rocky Mountains. Even though Carly tries to convince her family she is a hundred-percent better, her troubling bouts of tiredness give her away. When an unexpected injury forces Carly and Ajay back down the mountain, Carly’s health is put to the ultimate test.

Jake Maddox Girls Sports: Tennis Triumph

Capstone, 2021

Mira Ravi is the first-seed singles star on Hilltop Middle School’s tennis team, but her life off the court is a much harder match to win. Mira juggles tough responsibilities at home, in school, and with her team, but she also has a secret that threatens the balance. Can Mira be honest about her struggles and still play the sport she loves?

Jake Maddox Girls Sports: Point Guard Pride

Capstone, 2021

It is never easy to be the new kid in school–or on the basketball team. But when Yasmin Jones faces racism from one of her new teammates, she insists on dealing with it on her own. Her solution is to prove to her new team that she is a star player. As pressure builds, though, Yasmin’s game suffers. How can Yasmin address her problems on and off the court?

Books I Wrote and Illustrated:

Pied Piper of Austin

Pelican Publishing, 2009

The people of Austin, Texas, had a serious problem. Everywhere they went, the bats went, too. In this regional adaptation of the popular fairytale, the Pied Piper of Austin helps the city get its bat situation under control.

“The story can be followed through the imaginative text and beautiful color illustrations of talented author/artist Salima Alikhan.” –Midwest Book Review

“This book is beautiful both in storyline and illustrations.” –Suite101.com

Books I Illustrated:

Pieces Of Another World

Arbordale, 2005

by Mara Rockliff, Illustrated by Salima Alikhan

Pieces of Another World was vetted for scientific accuracy by the education department at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Facilities and has been endorsed by members of the American Meteor Association, the Miami Planetarium and the Von Braun Astronomical Society.

This touching story of a father and child’s nighttime excursion to watch a meteor shower is told through the eyes of a child in awe of the night world. Rockliff’s vivid descriptions make readers feel as though they too are watching the tiny bits of other, distant worlds blazing into our own. The For Creative Minds section includes teaching trivia about meteors, meteor showers, comets, and asteroids as well as a Meteor Math game, a Five Steps to a Fantastic Meteor Watching Party checklist, and a recipe for comet cookies.

  • 2006 NAIBA Picture Book of the Year nominee
  • 2006 Texas Bluebonnet Reading Award nominee

Rocky Mountain Night Before Christmas

Pelican Publishing, 2007

by Joe Gribnau, Illustrated by Salima Alikhan

“The Rocky Mountains come alive on a cold Christmas Eve as a cowboy makes his way home. Upon arrival, he spies a big, fat red feller on the rooftop of his cabin and lassoes the suspected cattle rustler. Ordinarily, fate would have dictated dire consequences, but childhood memories reveal the stranger as Santa Claus and the two reunite. A new twist on Clement C. Moore’s classic Christmas poem, this book plays off of its Rocky Mountain setting and the drawling dialect characteristic of the area. Rocky Mountain Night Before Christmas is a welcome addition to any collection of Christmas tales and legends.” —New York Times Book Review

Lawyer's Week Before Christmas

Pelican Publishing, 2010

‘Twas a week before yuletide and things were asunder within the law office of Bluff, Bluster, and Blunder. This attorney-oriented parody of the popular poem focuses on large fees, paralegals, and torts–all in good fun. The lawyers at this firm proudly proclaim, “Merry Christmas to all! We do slips and falls here!”

“It would be a crime not to add this to your law library or home collection. It is a humorous tongue-in-cheek take on torts. It is written by a lawyer and proves the old adage ‘It takes one to know one.'” —Patrick H. Head, district attorney, Cobb Judicial Circuit