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Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif, illustrator of The Phoenix of Persia

We interviewed Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif, illustrator of the gorgeous new picture book The Phoenix of Persia! Find out what he had to say below!

What was your favourite part of the story to illustrate?

For me, the best part of the story to illustrate was the mysterious sleeping phoenix.

Can you explain the sgraffito technique you used for the illustrations?

I used a technique called scratch board, in which I scratch the colour instead of adding it.

How do you feel now that your book is out in the world?

Wonderful. I am excited. I hope that many children read and love it.

The phoenix is a magical, mythical being. Where did your idea for its appearance come from?

The Simorgh is a mythological bird that has been portrayed in different ways. There are similar mythological bird in other cultures. My illustrations were based on the Homa, another mythical bird from Iran that resembles a vulture.

What personal connection do you have to the Shahnameh?

The Shahnameh is a mysterious, complicated book. As we know, the existence of the Farsi language depends on it. In my opinion, Shahnameh is Iran’s most important piece of cultural heritage. It has lots of beautiful stories, which have the potential to be known by people worldwide.

  • Read an interview: Explore the magic of storytelling with Sally Pomme Clayton!
  • Read a review by teacher Louise Gahan: Children and adults will be captivated by The Phoenix of Persia
  • Read a review by Red Reading Hub: Rich in classroom potential, The Phoenix of Persia is FAB-U-LOUS!

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