I was recently contacted by Ali Seidabadi, an Iranian editor and author. Seidabadi is promoting a series of picture books that are being published by Tiny Owl, a British publishing house; he would like to bring them to the attention of an American audience. The books will be translations of picture books from around the world, and Seidabadi is involved with a series of Iranian books.
Today I received one of the books from the Iranian series: "A Rainbow In My Pocket", by Ali Seidabadi, illustrated by Hada Haddadi. Author and illustrator are both highly respected in Iran.
When I read the words other people have written, or look at the pictures they have made, I feel as though my soul is reaching out and clasping hands with their soul. The words and pictures in this book are different from what I usually see and hear in an American picture book. But I also recognize the commonalities, and feel an understanding of Iranian culture that I didn't have before. The pages are intriguing...free... playful...resonating with the creative love and humanity that children's book writers and artists all over the world pour into their works.
It's not just professional creators who can speak to us in this way. Everyone has something of themselves to tell or to show, whoever he is, wherever she comes from. Everyone wants to be heard and seen. Today, let's listen to someone's story or look at someone's picture, in whatever medium it comes. It might be from an Iranian on the other side of the globe; or from a stranger a few states away; or from the person sitting next to us. Listen. Look. Reach across the divide. Help bring us closer together.