Read a lovely review of Tiny Owl’s books by Philip Davies from Montessori St Nicholas:
This publishing house was co-founded by Delaram Ghanimifard to produce books reflecting her Iranian culture through the work of writers and illustrators from that country, and since 2015 Tiny Owl has published 16 books that celebrate the heritage of Persian culture in this way. These include the ‘Tales by Rumi’ series that introduce the work of the great thirteenth century poet, philosopher and Sufi mystic Rumi. The Parrot and the Merchant is one title in this series; translated by Azita Rassi and illustrated by Marjan Vafaian, it is a deceptively simple tale about the difficulty of giving freedom to something you love, given a new angle as Vafaian’s merchant is a woman.
These are beautifully produced books, and there is a wide variety of illustration styles across the whole range, so there should be something to suit every taste.
One of my favourites is The Little Black Fish, a story for children of six and older about a fish who dares to swim out of his pool downstream to the sea to find answers to his questions, leaving behind the other fish who won’t leave their set routines, and ending with a final message of hope. The author, Samad Behrangi, was one of Iran’s most influential authors and teachers, and award-winning illustrator Farshid Mesghali has created wonderful woodblock prints to illustrate the story and bring the little fish to life.
Tiny Owl’s stated aim in publishing these stories is to “broaden perspectives and introduce artistic and literary traditions from diverse world views…” by producing books with “… stories of hope and peace in a fractured world and to build bridges between cultures”. This of course fits in with the ‘learning about the world’ element of Cosmic Education, so if you want to find out more about Tiny Owl and all the other books they have published go to www.tinyowl.co.uk.
Persian-speaking countries like Iran have a long tradition of storytellers called pardekhani, who use a big illustrated canvas called a parde in public places like coffee houses as they recount the story that is pictured on the canvas. Storyteller Alia Alzougbi has recently been performing Tiny Owl’s The Parrot and the Merchant at a number of book festivals, including Hay and Edinburgh International. She is also happy to perform at schools, so if you would like to find out more about this you can contact Tiny Owl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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