Author: Ahmadreza Ahmadi
Illustrator: Ehsan Abdollahi
Key Stage 1
You can now buy When I Coloured In the World in paperback! Originally published in hardback, it was selected as one of the best children’s books of 2015 by the Guardian and was described by the artist/illustrator Jackie Morris as ‘unexpected … deep, layered, beautiful’. The author, Ahmadreza Ahmadi, is renowned in Iran and beyond for his ability both to explore the painful human realities of war and poverty, and to imagine a better world in which everyone is happy and equal.
The innocence and simple wisdom of the poem pervades every colourful page. A child uses crayons to colour and change the world, and everything from boredom and noise to illness and war is replaced with something better, kinder and more hopeful. It’s a perfect book for parents, teachers and librarians to explore with children what they would change in the world, as well as how simple actions can have a real impact on the lives of other people.
Ahmadi’s poem is brought to life by Ehsan Abdollahi’s striking illustrations, which give personality and vivacity to the people who laugh, sing, smile and dance in response to the changes in the world. It’s also a great springboard for artwork – see here for how one primary school responded.
The universal desire to enact change in the world – whether seen from the straightforward perspective of a child or the wistfulness of adulthood – means that When I Coloured In the World is truly a book that can (and should) be read by everyone.
- Read this wonderful review by Book Trust: A world without discrimination, poverty or inequality
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