Continuing the celebration of poetry for National Poetry Month, I’m so happy to feature a poetic picture book that was published April 2016 in English and that I received from the publisher when I visited London last month. Poem in Your Pocket Day is coming up on April 26th (as I was reminded when I visited the poets.org website and checked out their 30 ways to celebrate national poetry month). You’ll see below that the young girl in today’s Perfect Picture Book is set to celebrate – writing a poem each day to keep in her pocket.
Title: A Rainbow in My Pocket
Written By: Ali Seidabadi
Illustrated By: Hoda Haddadi
Translated By: Azita Rassi
Publisher/date: Tiny Owl Publishing Ltd/ 2016 (first published in Persian, Ofogh Publications/2007)
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: poetry; #ReadYourWorld; curiosity
If you can’t
Fit the Rainbow
In your pocket,
Make your dreams
You can put
What you like
And my thoughts
On a small piece of paper
And put it in my pocket.
I feel the rainbow
Rising from my pocket.
Brief Synopsis: A young girl shares her observations, hopes, and dreams by writing a poem each day and storing the paper in her pocket.
Links to Resources:
- Discover Iran, home of the author and illustrator;
- Write about or draw a picture of something you like or wish to have or do;
- Keep a journal to write down your thoughts each day;
- View the book trailer here.
Why I Like this Book:
A Rainbow in My Pocket is a happy, hopeful collection of whimsical observations about the little things in life, questions about nature, and musings about more universal themes. The young, unnamed narrator records her of-the-moment thoughts each day and shares them as distinct free-verse poems with the reader. They range from the everyday experience of waiting for a favorite dress to be washed, dried and ready to wear, dreaming about a hat her mother hasn’t bought her yet, to wondering why ants “queue in such a neat line.” Similarly, she wonders why the sky is blue, as a bird “in a smoky city” answers, “why isn’t the sky blue?”
Like curious young children everywhere, the narrator’s mind flits between small, everyday observations to more thought-provoking ideas. I couldn’t help thinking of that phrase, “out of the mouths of babes” as I read,
I wish people
Would talk using only nice words –
Not use harsh words
And poke you.
I think all of us share this wish, as we encourage our children to let their minds wander, to ponder and question both everyday happenings and big, universal ideas, and to hope for a future as magical as a rainbow following a rain shower.
Seidabadi’s short, lyrical verses are paired well with Haddadi’s colorfully dreamy, mixed- media collages. Haddadi leaves plenty of white space, too, to let readers’ minds wander and wonder.
A Note about Craft:
Seidabadi wrote A Rainbow in My Pocket from the first-person point of view. The narrator remains nameless, and even Haddadi’s evocative illustrations give no indication of her exact age or location. This combination, I believe, enables readers and listeners to share in the narrator’s thoughts, and, perhaps let their minds wander among ideas big and small. Likewise, there is no plot, per se. There is, however, movement among ideas, and between everyday questions & bigger picture dreams.
An End Note introduces the Iranian author and illustrator to Western readers.
See also an interview with Haddadi here, and view more illustrations on her Facebook page. In addition to other awards and recognition, Haddadi won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award 2017 for best illustration of a picture book in the North American market for Drummer Girl, by Hiba Masood; illustrated by Hoda Hadadi (Daybreak Press, 2017).
Read an interview with Seidabadi here, a chat with him here, and visit his Facebook page.
Discover more books published by Tiny Owl Publishing Ltd, “an independent publishing company committed to producing beautiful, original books for children”, founded on the “belief that stories act as bridges – providing pathways to new experiences whilst connecting us to here and there”. They’ve published a number of books by Iranian authors and/or illustrators, including When I Coloured in the World, Alive Again, A Bottle of Happiness, and The Drum.
While not currently available in US book shops, A Rainbow in My Pocket is available through the Book Depository which ships for free to the US and around the world.
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!