Books International It's Monday What Are You Reading Middle Eastern Literature Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Picturebooks from Iran On Colouring the World and Cycle Of Life


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Yesterday, we launched our reading theme this May-June 2017: Myriad Of Middle Eastern Literature. Initially, we had a different reading theme planned. However, seeing what is happening around the world, we thought it best to address some of it by portraying stories that matter to us. It is difficult to hate that which you know. I am starting with these two lovely stories written by award-winning Iranian storyteller Ahmadreza Ahmadi.

When I Coloured In The World

Written by: Ahmadreza Ahmadi Illustrated by: Ehsan Abdollahi
Published by: Tiny Owl Publishing, 2015 ISBN: 1910328073
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

This is a story that empowers the young reader to “colour” in the world using a box of crayons – transforming that which is dark into something light, despair to hope, illness to health, sadness to joy.

While it may be deemed as simplistic by adults who know that life does not really operate in this manner, I thought there was a quiet assurance to this story that depicts various hues representing peace, harmony, love.

While it is clear that sadness does not go away by colouring it in with purple laughter or hunger solved by giving the world green…

I was still comforted by the message about a young person imagining how things could go better with a steadfast heart, a box of crayons, and multi-coloured shades of hope.

Alive Again

Written by: Ahmadreza Ahmadi Illustrated by: Nahid Kazemi
Published by: Tiny Owl Publishing, 2015. ISBN: 1910328057
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

This deceptively-simple picture book begins with a simple-enough question:

Last night the wind blew the blossom from the trees.

“When blossom goes, does the word ‘blossom’ die?” asked a boy. “Can there ever be blossom again?”

Each page poses a question that is reminiscent of what my Philosophy professor asked our class when I was a college freshman: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

The questions gradually move on towards the father’s observations in response to the young boy’s ruminations, as the world wakes up to spring and rain and plants growing. Told in very sparse text, it shows how the universe comes “alive again.”

About the Author: Ahmadreza Ahmadi is an Iranian poet and children’s story writer. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ Award. Ahmadreza Ahmadi’s writing style lies somewhere between poetry and fictional narrative. its profound simplicity speaks to both adults and children.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

15 comments on “[Monday Reading] Picturebooks from Iran On Colouring the World and Cycle Of Life

  1. Both sound like interesting books. Hate can result from ignorance so I think your theme is important. We could definitely use more compassion in this world!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The books sound interesting, but the illustrations don’t catch my eye. I hope you enjoy them, though.

    My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post for this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing both books. I look forward to seeing the other titles you will be reading during your unit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 15andmeowing

    Alive Again looks good, I like how it is illustrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele

    These books have great messages and I love how they ask the reading to question things around them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the idea of When I Coloured In The World. I think the really important things in life are pretty simple, and if we can all agree on these basics, then navigating our way to making the world a better place is doable. Your comments and fragments of text from Alive Again made me think of The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the novel I just started reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tiny Owl consistently produces some really wonderful picture books with stunning artwork. While the text is simple, the concepts they address are quite complex, and I appreciate that they don’t shy away from dealing with thought-provoking questions. When addresses in an approachable, age-appropriate way, children are capable of contemplating life’s big philosophical issues, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pussreboots

    You always highlight the most interesting books. I’m adding both to my wishlist.

    Saturday was my the junior to cadette bridging ceremony in San Francisco. My daughter and I are sore and sunburnt from our adventure but we had fun. Come see what I’m reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I Colored the World is visually gorgeous.
    Sam @ WLABB

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These books are gorgeous – Thank you for sharing them with us

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love your story behind your current theme. I have to join you in one of your upcoming themes!

    Liked by 1 person

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