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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)
Persepolis 1: The Story of A Childhood
by Marjane Satrapi
Age Range: 14+
Here in the UK readers are not used to the graphic novel genre and sometimes
we still have archaic and old-fashioned attitudes towards these types of books.
This is not the case in France and the neighbouring Low Countries where comics
and graphic novels have been part of daily life for many years and are read by
both children and adults alike.
From France come two of the best graphic novels of recent years first published in 2000 and 2001 respectively, although the author and illustrator is Iranian by birth and now settled in France. These two books are a moving, poignant autobiographical account of Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq. .
Persepolis: The Story of A Childhood is seen through the eyes of Marjane, living with her liberally minded parents, through major social and political change as the fundamentalist regime is ushered in. At the start of the story, Marjane is six years old and the reader is able to follow the effects that these changes have on her family and school life.
The cartoon-type illustrations, although simplistic at first sight, superbly convey humour, emotions and ideas with black and white images that are full of expression but without being over sentimental.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)