Happy Norouz! Norouz, also spelled Nowruz or Norooz, is Persian New Year and will start this year on Sunday, 20 March 2016. Who knew? Sadly, I had never heard of this holiday until recently, even though I know several people of Iranian descent. To make up for lost time, I chose the book below:
Title: Two Parrots
By: Rashin, inspired by a Tale from Rumi
Publisher/date: NorthSouth Books, 2014
Suitable for Ages: 5-8
Themes/Topics: Freedom, Persian folktale, parrots
Opening: “Once upon a time, in Persia, there was a merchant who travelled the world for his business. On one of his journeys to India, he received a beautiful parrot as a gift from a friend.”
Brief Synopsis: A merchant showers his beloved parrot with everything, including a gilded cage. A clever trick teaches the merchant that all the riches in the world, without freedom, cannot bring happiness.
Links to Resources: Older children can find out more about the setting of the story, Persia, or modern-day Iran.
Find out more about Norouz at Asia Society Kids. Families can compare the rituals of this Persian celebration with those of other Spring holidays, such as Easter and Passover.
Try preparing Nowruz dishes, like those found in Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year (Mage Publishers, 2008).
Try coloring parrots, the featured bird of this story, or try coloring in the very detailed, multi-layered style used by Rashin. See more of her work at rashinart.com
Try making a Persian carpet, like the ones shown in Two Parrots.
Why I Like this Book: Like many of us of a certain age born and educated in the US, I know almost nothing about the history and culture of Persia, now encompassed primarily by Iran. So I was thrilled to stumble upon the words of Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, generally known as Rumi (1207-1273), a 13th century Persian poet, theologian and Sufi mystic, in a picture book illustrated by an artist from Iran. The illustrations are lively and colourful, a perfect complement to this delightful story with an important lesson that without freedom there is no happiness.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!
Rumi is one of my favorite poets. So your choice really interests me. Lovely choice for the Persian New Year.
Thank you! It’s a gorgeous book.
Thanks for this review! I hadn’t heard of Rumi before!
I’m not sure if his other writing is for kids, but I loved finding this new folktale.
This looks like a treasure I need to add to my library list!
Oh, a new topic I’ve never known about – the Persian New Year! Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂
This looks quite interesting,and I love the take away. The illustrations look richly detailed with beautiful color saturation. I’ll put this on my library list.
Glad you enjoyed it!
Love Rumi! And this picture book sounds delightful–thanks for sharing. You’ve introduced me to a new holiday also!
I hadn’t heard of Persian New Year before this either, but plan on a Middle Eastern dinner on Sunday!
Looks right up my alley!
Love books that allow kids to learn about other cultures.
I love tales from far away – and what great activities! Thanks.
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