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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Little Black Fish (The)
by Samad Behrangi
Age Range: 6-8
Little Black Fish has big questions about the world and he is determined to find the answers to them. He swims away downstream and out to sea despite his mother’s and the other fish warning him of the perils of leaving their safe haven. On his adventure Little Black Fish sees many wondrous and beautiful things, encounters danger lurking around every corner and finally is faced with his ultimate challenge.
Iranian author Samad Behrangi was one of Iran’s most influential authors and teachers. His tragically early death, rumoured to have been ordered by the Iranian Government, has given him legendary status in his home country. First published in 1968, Little Black Fish was banned in pre-revolutionary Iran, but is now one of its most famous children’s books. It is a profound story that can be read on several levels: as a tale of an individual life – Little Black Fish is feisty and independent, a fish daring to mix with all kinds of creatures and other ways of life, not being afraid to be different and wanting to see the world beyond that in which he lives – and it can also be read as a political allegory by adults for a nation in which it was dangerous to be politically different.
The stunning illustrations by Farshid Mesghali, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration in 1974, are bold and distinctive. The black patterned fish with a dash of vivid red for its eyes and the background shades of blues and greens, greys and brown together with the use of perspective add impetus to Behrangi’s story.