The little black fish swims back out to sea

The Little Black Fish Cover (c) Tiny Owl 2015

The Little Black Fish Cover (c) Tiny Owl 2015

Tiny Owl is a new children’s book publisher with a noble aim: to “introduce the cream of the crop of global children’s literature, contemporary and old, to the English speaking audience.”

Their 2015 catalogue focuses on Persian treasures, and it’s moving, challenging and utterly beautiful.

I’ve been on the lookout recently for really good children’s books about death, and The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi is one. It’s a politically challenging one too: it is also about daring to be different, and was banned as soon as it was published in Iran in 1968.

The original illustrations by Farshid Meshgali really make this book special; they were awarded at Bologna and Bratislava in 1968 and with the Hans Christian Andersen Award or “Nobel of Children’s Literature” in 1974.

The translator, Azita Rassi, has brought the text to life in a new way. To get a feel for what she has achieved “in reverse”, and see the illustrations, you can watch this short video for BBC Persian. You might be surprised by how much Farsi you can understand with glimpses of the translation and with images this good!

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