On a cold day around Christmas, we visited Ahmadreza Ahmadi, eminent Iranian poet and writer, at his flat in Tehran. His apartment is located on the beautiful hills of northern Tehran. Its walls are covered with stunning paintings, crafts and, of course, shelves full of books. Food for his cats, which is placed next to the entrance, attracts visitors’ attention. Ahmadi is the author of two of our titles: When I Coloured in the World and Alive Again. In 2010, he was shortlisted for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. While many of Ahmadi’s stories and poems are simple in words and style, he introduces deep philosophical concepts to children. He sometimes explains painful human world realities such as war, poverty, and inequality, but then he delves into childhood dreams and pictures a beautiful world in which everything is fun, exciting, peaceful, and equal. A world in which nobody excels over others because of race, gender, nationality, or money. We had a nice chat with him about different things, from his life to his recent works, from his health to his future dreams. Although he is 77 years old now, with a cardiac pacemaker and poor vision, he has a very young and lively soul. Above all, his inner child is quite active. He works hard everyday, writes poetry and stories, and also paints. He is very happy that his stories have been translated into different languages, including English. Ahmadi kindly gave us two new stories, which are with our editors now. His book When I Coloured in the World attracted the attention of many in the UK and was picked among the best books of the year in 2015 by the Guardian. Let us read a part of it together at the end of this short blog post:
I rubbed out that word ‘war’.
I got my sky blue crayon and I wrote ‘peace’ with it.
All over the world news came from radios saying that all the wars had stopped.
After that news, the radios played such lovely music that flowers bloomed in empty vases.
I gave light blue to the world.
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More to read about Alive Again:
- Here worlds are brought together. A review by Ferelith Hordon for IBBY LINK. Here
- Opening up discussions on challenging themes such as lo