Leila was born in Lebanon and has lived in eight countries. After more than a decade of working in nutrition and business development, she began writing shortly after she moved to Singapore in 2013 with Sensitive and Extraordinary, a blog about the joys and challenges of parenting a highly sensitive child, and two self-published picture books for highly sensitive children which have been recommended by Dr. Elaine Aron (author of The Highly Sensitive Person) and Dr. Ted Zeff (author of The Strong Sensitive Boy). It was at a writers and illustrators retreat organized by the Asian Festival of Children’s Content that Leila had the incredible opportunity to work on a picture book manuscript with Holly Thompson as her mentor. The manuscript was published by Marshall Cavendish shortly thereafter, which marked the beginning of Leila’s children’s writing career. She has since been fortunate enough to write the stories of her heart, with characters she’d spent most of her life longing to see in the pages of a book, and to conduct school visits and workshops about writing, finding inspiration, representation in children’s books, and more.
Leila has been an active member of SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge for more years than she can remember. She is a strong believer in the power children’s books have in shaping societies by nurturing empathy and kindness in young people, and in the importance of the work book-creators and publishers do in paving the way for a better tomorrow. There is nothing she enjoys more than playing with words to create a compelling and powerful story, and is grateful she gets to do that as an author, a critique partner, and a freelance editor.
In addition to writing and editing, Leila also spends her time reading, (proudly) hoarding books, embroidering, knitting, cooking, and trying to impress her cat.