Tag Archives: Nahid Kazemi

The Orange House

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The Orange House
Nahid Kazemi
Tiny Owl Publishing
Down at the end of the alley lined by tall buildings Sky, Star, Sea and Moonlight, stands the Orange House and Orange is far from happy. The reason being she is the only remaining old house, and while the other buildings all watch and comment on the nearby, as yet nameless new building,

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single storeyed Orange House stays silent. She doesn’t have a lift, nor amazing plumbing or even beautiful bricks or windows as the others have commented. Puzzled by her continued silence,

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Turquoise, the first of the more recent buildings, continues speaking, recalling when like Orange, other houses in the alley had gardens with trees, ponds, birds and fish. The rest join the conversation, reminiscing about the lost beauty and gradually realising the impact they themselves have had on the locality, Turquoise commenting on the quality of the air (cleaner and easier to breathe back then).
Suddenly Orange notices workmen approaching with picks and shovels; but then so do the others. Deciding it’s time to make a stand against further development, the tall buildings form a barricade around the Orange House making her invisible to those would-be destructive humans who give up their search and walk away.

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And thus stands Orange House, smiling and happy surrounded by her new friends and protectors.
This is a powerful fable of our time, when thoughtless, money-grabbing developers are often too ready to knock down buildings and destroy open spaces in the name of progress.
With its naive perspectives, Nahid Kazemi’s quirky, offbeat illustrative style delivers the message with a punchy panache.

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Exploring Big Ideas: Grandad’s Island & Alive Again

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Grandad’s Island
Benji Davies
Simon and Schuster Children’s Books pbk
Sometimes along comes a book that moves me to tears; this is such a one. It really tugs at the heartstrings as it tells how young Syd accompanies his beloved Grandad on a final journey. With Grandad at the helm,

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the two of them set forth on a tall ship across the ocean and its rolling waves to a far distant island. Abandoning his stick, Grandad leads Syd into the thick jungle where they come upon an old shack.

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Having made everything ‘shipshape’, the two of them sally forth to explore and come upon a perfect resting spot.

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It’s there that Grandad breaks the news to Syd that he is going to remain on the island, assuring him that he won’t feel lonely.
So, after a loving farewell, Syd returns home alone. It’s a lonesome journey and a long one and when Syd returns to Grandad’s house, there’s nobody there. But then he hears a tapping at the window and there, sent by special mail is …

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Poignantly beautiful both visually and verbally: Benji Davies has done it again.

 

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Alive Again
Ahmadreza Ahmadi and Nahid Kazemi
Tiny Owl
The well-regarded Iranian poet Ahmadi is the author of this seemingly simple, thought-provoking tale.
One by one, things that a boy loves disappear from his life: are they gone forever, he wonders. Can blossom, rain and wheat come back?

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They can and will, but each in its own good time.
The author’s spare prose allows children to create their own interpretations and fill the gaps left in the telling. Ahmadi gives the impression of being close to young children and the kinds of ideas that preoccupy them from time to time. Themes of change, loss, death, rebirth and renewal, and the cycles of nature

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are all possible ideas to explore having shared the reassuring book with young listeners.
As with all the Tiny Owl titles, the production is excellent and the illustrations superb. The collage style illustrator Nahid Kazemi used here has a child-like quality about it and is likely to inspire children’s own creative endeavours.

 

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A box of interesting fabrics, some decent backing paper, fine-line pens and glue is all that’s required.
A wonderful book for primary teachers looking to further children’s spiritual and imaginative development.

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