This could be one of the oldest stories you have ever read! It is a retelling of a traditional, originally oral, Persian (now Iranian) tale, dating from the 10th century when this and other stories were collected into The Book of Kings. Set in a time when the kingdom of Iran was at war with its neighbour Turan, with two very different kings in charge of the countries, a series of events brings the young knight Bijan in contact with Manije, the daughter of the enemy king. Just like Romeo and Juliet, the two fall in love but we can look forward to a happier ending where the power of love overcomes evil. There are opportunities to talk about values, the futility of war, the virtue of goodness and the use and abuse of power. The vibrant illustrations echo the richness of the language and have an unusual and distinctive style that complements the exotic location. It would be fun to ask children to choose sections of the story to illustrate, either using the style of the book, or one of their own, and displaying these in order as prompts for the children’s own oral storytelling, perhaps adding dialogue and further detail. Age range 6 – 9.
- Bijan & Manije listed for international picture book award! Link
- The story of Bijan and Manije spoke to me – Nicolette Jones. Link
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