“Today we need peace and friendship between nations more than ever, and children’s books are one of the best messengers of peace and friendship.”
Bringing us these messages of hope and positive growth is Delaram Ghanimifard and Karim Arghandehpour of Tiny Owl Publishing, who have made it their mission to beautifully publish quality children’s stories from all over the world.
1 What age should we start reading to our children and why?
At fetal stage, because I believe as soon as they can hear us, the habit of listening to a book being read on their part and the habit of reading a book for a child on our part can start to be formed.
2 What makes a great children’s book and why?
First and foremost an attractive story, even if a very simple one, that not only the children but even the adults who might be reading the book for them can enjoy following. In my opinion, a children’s book cannot afford to become boring even for a page or two, especially in today’s world with all of the accessible entertainment sources that compete for a child’s attention.
3 Children love to look at pictures, how important is a good illustrator for storytelling?
Illustrations are of great importance for younger children. They add a new dimension to the story. Illustrations should open a window to a new world for children. A world that is simultaneously recognisable and unfamiliar. A mixture of similarities and differences. Illustrations should also be creative, because they are the first confrontation of children and visual arts.
4 What do you look for in an illustrator? What makes a great illustration?
Good illustrators require two skills: They need good artistic skills, and they need to be good storytellers.
5 Which are your most popular titles? Any idea why these have such broad appeal?
The Little Black Fish, because the story consists of both action and imagination. This makes it attractive for children. The Parrot and The Merchant, because the message is unexpected and touching.
6 Tell us about a new book you are really excited about?
From the 2015 Tiny Owl list, When I Coloured in the World (will be published in May) is a mellow poetic book with fabulous illustrations. From our next year list, Mr Fox Has Stolen Our Colour,
7 You publish many award-winning writers, how do you find authors who are able to bridge the age gap and connect with young people?
We see our books as gifts from non-English cultures for all children, to present to them a different, new, and exciting world. We chose best books from Iran, which is less known to the Western children, and people have little knowledge about other than political and media coverage. I think the books we chose can be read and enjoyed by all age-groups.
8 Share with us some tips for making bedtime reading a success?
Whenever I read a storybook to a child at bedtime, I try to pick a book that has a particularly appealing story, even though this means delaying the sweet moment they fall asleep as they are captivated by the story! I love to read the story like a performance, changing my voice for different characters and reading with all the pertaining emotions apparent in my tone: excitement, haste, fear, concern, etc. I also go for a book that is slightly higher than the child’s vocabulary range and encourage him/her to ask the meanings of key words although I make a point of giving just a brief explanation and jumping back to the story..