Local Author Commended For Community Contributions


To celebrate Mother’s Day weekend, Versace in the Manhasset Americana and SHAI (Sephardic Heritage Alliance, Inc.) hosted an event to celebrate women in the community. SHAI is an organization based out of Great Neck that serves as a Jewish Community Center without walls. They support senior citizens, children and the community as a whole.

Earlier this year, Edna Khalily of Great Neck published her first book, Alisha’s Magical Red Lipstick: 999 Ways To Feel Beautiful. At the event, Khalily was honored for her contributions to the community.

Khalily’s book follows the main character Alisha on a journey to become more confident and discover her inner beauty. The book shares an important message with vibrant illustrations done by Stan Jaskiel.

Seven years ago, Khalily lost her mother unexpectedly to throat cancer. After her mother’s passing, Khalily reminisced on the meaningful lessons and advice she remembers from her mother. One that stuck out to her the most was when her mother told her there are 1000 ways to be beautiful.

“[My mom] told me a woman has a thousand ways to be beautiful, but only one of them is physical beauty. And I asked her to tell me what are the other 999 ways of being beautiful. She said to me, that’s your journey. That’s what you have to go out there and find,” said Khalily.

Khalily’s children’s book. (Photo from Edna Khalily)

Khalily’s book stars a young girl named Alisha. Alisha doesn’t feel pretty and she tells her mother her concerns. While Alisha is listening to her mother’s advice, she sees a glowing red lipstick and asks to try it on. When Alisha tries on the lipstick, she gets sucked through a portal in the mirror to another land where she meets a friend that guides her on the journey around the world. Throughout Alisha’s journey across the globe and meeting new people, she learns how to accept herself and feel confident in her own skin.

Since the release of her children’s book, Khalily has spread this message to parents and young girls about how important inner beauty is. Now more than ever, social media shows seemingly perfect and beautiful people to young girls that makes them feel like they aren’t good enough. Khalily hopes her book can help children discover their own inner beauty and hold onto it.

Versace and SHAI hosted an evening of music, drinks, food, friends and family.

“I thought that Versace, Alisha, and SHAI have a lot in common,” said Khalily. “And the one thing that they have in common is to leave a mark behind them and to give a lot to the community. And also to empower people, children and seniors. It’s very diverse.”

About 200 people came to show support and Versace donated 15 percent of sales they made during the event to SHAI.

Bruce Blakeman, Edna Khalily and
Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip. (Photo from Edna Khalily)

Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman attended the event and made speeches to congratulate Khalily and support the women in the community.

“I felt really proud that my book was promoted. Alisha continues to leave a mark, and to have my mom’s message live on,” said Khalily. “There was no better way to celebrate Alisha’s magical red Lipstic’s first Mother’s Day, after all the book massage is my mothers message.”

Alisha’s Magical Red Lipstick: 999 Ways To Feel Beautiful is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit ednakhalily.com to learn more.

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