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Kevin Crossley-Holland and ‘The Little Black Fish’

Tiny Owl books are Riveting Reads! We’re very excited to be included in The School Library Association’s publication of A World of Books in Translation by Joy Court and Daniel Hahn as part of the Riveting Reads series. Initiated by author and SLA President Kevin Crossley-Holland, the annotated guide showcases over 100 children books in translation with additional commentary from authors, publishers and campaigners.

“…Riveting Reads breaks completely new ground and is likely to mark a turning point in the awareness of translated children’s books. And it could scarcely be more timely…not only because the best foreign novels and picture books are quite outstanding but also because they’re the cornerstone of crucial cultural exchange and are of huge educational value; all the more so at a time when individuals and families from so many different countries and cultures are working and settling in the United Kingdom… How thrilling it is to step as a young reader into a world at once familiar and unfamiliar – just the same yet strangely different.”  Kevin Crossley-Holland

We’re delighted that three of our publications were included. You can read the reviews below:

The Little Black Fish
The Little Black Fish

The Little Black Fish, Samad Behrangi, trans. Azita Razzi, ills. Farshid Mesghali

Gorgeously illustrated in this Tiny Owl edition by Farshid Mesghali, the first ever Asian winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, The Little Black Fish has been called Iran’s most famous children’s book of all time. As with most animal stories it can certainly be read as an allegory and its political reading ensured that it was banned in pre-revolution Iran. You can see why the story of the little fish who defies convention (and his Mother!) swims away from the small section of the stream which confines their lives on a quest to see ‘if the stream goes on and on, or whether it comes to an end.’ Throughout his journey he meets other creatures who also believe that there is nowhere else beyond their own limited environment and that their way of life and their view of the world is the only way to be. 5+

The Orange House, Nahid Kazemi, trans. Azita Razzi

The Orange House

From a new publisher dedicated to global children’s literature, this subtle story of belonging, friendship and intergenerational respect is truly beautiful. The Persian author illustrator used to hand-make and paint her own books as a child and this tactile feel is preserved in the imagery of this tale of an old house left behind by all the new skyscrapers. Yet it shows how we can incorporate and remain sympathetic to our cultural heritage whilst keeping up with the needs of a fast-paced and growing world 4+

The Snowman and the Sun, Susan Taghdis, trans. Azita Razzi, ills. Ali Mafakheri

The Snowman and the Sun

What happens to a snowman when the sun comes out? He melts, of course. And then he turns into water, evaporates, returns to the sky and falls again as rain, or as in this case, snow. This modern-day fable, from an Iranian author and illustrator partnership, can make children think about how our attachments to people and things live on even though they change and sometimes disappear and can also be an excellent way to introduce the water cycle. The child-like artwork on graph paper background has lovely humorous touches, such as the bumble bee riding a bicycle. 3+


This wonderful quote by Deborah Hallford, Outside In World, summaries the importance of the guide:

“Translated children’s literature can broaden our horizons, helping to break down the barriers of geography, language and race, and build bridges between nations. We can help develop tolerance and understanding of other peoples’ beliefs and cultures, by enabling young audiences to access, explore and enjoy books from other countries. Now, more than ever, Britain must not become culturally insular, so we must encourage more books published from different languages. There is a wonderful array of rich tradition and culture in children’s literature from around the world that needs to be experiences by UK readers.”

Riveting Reads: A World of Books in Translation

Buy The Little Black Fish
Buy The Orange House
Buy The Snowman and the Sun

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