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When I Coloured in the World

When I Coloured in the World

UK only

£11.99 (hardback)



£7.99 (paperback)



When I Coloured in the World is a simple yet profound poem about changing the world by the award-winning Iranian poet Ahmadreza Ahmadi.

A child uses crayons to colour and change the world, rubbing out the bad things and replacing them with good. Boredom gives way to play, crying to laughter, war to peace and darkness to light. With a little colour and imagination, the world becomes a kinder, more hopeful place. When I Coloured In the World is a beautiful book with a simple poetic text and a profound, positive message.


Download a free poster with beautiful artwork from this book!

Watch the book trailer

Meet the author and illustrator


Ahmadreza Ahmadi is one of the greatest Iranian contemporary poets. He has written numerous children’s stories, some of which have won major literary awards in Iran. In 2010 he was among the five shortlisted nominees for the Hans Christian Andersen award. His books for Tiny Owl also include Alive Again (2015).





Ehsan Abdollahi is an illustrator and animator from Iran. He teaches at Tehran Art University. Ehsan is inspired by the environment and fabrics of South Iran (where he was born), and uses bold colours and rich patterns in his illustrations. Ehsan has illustrated A Bottle of Happiness (2016) and Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me (2018) by the acclaimed African-American poet Eloise Greenfield.

Watch a video about Ehsan


Read more about When I Coloured in the World:
  • Recommended as a top book during lockdown – The Guardian
  • This book was among the best children’s books of 2015 by the Guardian. Link
  • When I Coloured in the World is recognised for excellence in poetry – NCTE
  • Read a blog: Teacher Lisa McDermott shares her experience of using When I Coloured in the World at school
  • review by English Association: Endless possibilities for children to create their own worlds of hope
  • ًRead a review by Letterbox Library: When I Coloured in the World shows the power of the pen!
  • A review by Jill Bennett. Link
  • A review by Ferelieth Hordon for IBBY. Link
  • Returning to school: Books for Topics recommends When I Coloured in the World
  • Read a review: When I Coloured in the World encourages the reader to think about the power of their creativity – Big Books for Little Hands
  • Watch this video to learn more about illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi
  • Simple concept with a profound message. Link
  • Jackie Morris’s stuning words about this book. Link
  • Discover the poetic side of Tiny Owl Publishing. Link
  • A life lesson through a story. Link
  • How would you colour the world? Link
  • Inspirational illustrations. Link
  • Learn more about Ahmadreza Ahmadi, Author of this book. Link
  • Exploring Emotions with Colour. Link
  • A fantastic piece of work by North Ormesby Primary Academy. link
  • A visit to the poet of hope and peace. Link
  • Champions of fantastic diverse stories. Link
  • We tell stories to know who we are. Link
  • How to paint a rooster. Link
  • How to paint a tiny owl. Link
  • Making the world a better place! A review by Eye Magazine
  • How to make the world a better place! A review by Books for Keeps
  • review by Book Trust: A world without discrimination, poverty or inequality
  • review by Patricia Nozell: Empowering Children to believe that they can change things for the better!
  • blog: A poem of innocence and simple wisdom
  • poster of this book is now available to download
  • Featured in Chicken Newspaper
  • A blog by Jackie Morris: Building bridges of colours not walls of mistrust
  • review by Planet Picture Book: An uplifting book full of hope, joy, beauty and peace
  • review by Laura Taylor on Kids Books review: Boredom becomes children playing under blue skies
  • Primary school teacher Ed Finch sent a copy of this book to Home Secretary along with letter; Home Secretary! Use your crayons to paint a fairer world
  • Read a review by Kid’s Book Review: When I Coloured in The World is uplifting and full of hope
  • Read a blog by teacher Claire Storey: Introducing inspiring and hopeful books for refugee children
  • How a play therapist used When I Coloured in the World. Read this interview
  • Read a review by Massachusetts school librarian Julie Durmis: When I Colored in the World is full of beauty and hope
  • Read a review: When I Coloured in the World shows that we can make the world a brighter place


Book Trust

An unusual and deceptively simple picture book.

Jackie Morris, The Guardian

Deep, layered and beautiful.

Books for Keeps

The illustrations are bold and original.

Posted in All Books, Books & Gifts, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Poetry