Nicolette Jones: The story of Bijan & Manije spoke to me

Nicollette Jones

Nicolette Jones. The photo from her twitter.

Tiny Owl loves to publish timeless stories, those that no matter when they are written, they have something for their modern audience. Bijan & Manije is a Persian story of thousand years ago. When we chose Bijan & Manije with its stunning modern illustrations to publish, we had to think about a new way to communicate it with an audience who had no previous knowledge about its origins and history. Nicolette Jones was our hero here. She accepted to look at the original story and what we had and rewrite and align the story with the illustrations. The outcome is brilliant. Here is a short interview with Nicolette Jones about the book.

Nicolette is an author and the Children’s Books Editor at Sunday Times.

A few words about the story. Link

 

Bijan & Manije

Bijan & Manije

  • Bijan and Manije is a story from a thousand year old book. It was an epic story mainly for grown-ups. What do you think about retelling it for children?

I think most of the myths that are the bedrock of our culture can be retold for children.  Greek myths and Grimm’s Fairy Tales were originally for an adult audience, and still resonate when modified for the young.

 

  • How much can a modern day child imagine an ancient story?

I think imagination is unlimited – especially a child’s imagination.  It is the point of books to take us to places we have never been. 

 

  • What do you think is the moral of this story?

This is a tale of love and loyalty and courage and forgiveness: Manije stays beside the man she loves, and endures hardship for him. The hero employs both cleverness and strength to come to the aid of a friend. The man that betrayed Bijan is welcomed at their wedding.

If there is a moral it is that love can triumph, and forgiveness is better than revenge.

 

An extract from Bijan & Manije by Marjan Vafaeian

An extract from Bijan & Manije by Marjan Vafaeian

  • Are the illustrations of the book successful in narrating the story for children?

I think the illustrations are remarkable. Children are visually extremely acute and open, and quite apart from the richness of the colour and pattern, the characters and incidents can be found in the images. There is no prescribed style that works for children, and this one has some of the naivete of their own drawings. It matters to have pictures of great variety for the young to cultivate their ability to read and appreciate images as well as text.

 

  • Bijan and Manije is a Persian epic story. Is the story approachable for non-Iranian children?

A story is a story. They don’t have borders. And it spoke to me.

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Buy this book: Here

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Read more about Bijan and Manije:

  • Our Exciting title: Bijan & Manije. Link
  • An amazing adaptation of a Persian ancient epic poetry. Link
  • Impressive performances of epic literature in cafe’s and street theaters.Link
  • What makes a story immortal? A blog post. Link
  • Stunningly original and beautifully presented. a review by Read it daddy. Link

Read more about the illustrator:

  • A gallery of Marjan Vafaian’s illustrations
  • We met Marjan in Tehran. A blogpost. Link

Laura Davies tells us why she’s such a fan of Tiny Owl Books. Link

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