Story Boat

Baby blue background with illustration of refugee children in boatWhen a little girl and her younger brother are forced along with their family to flee the home they’ve always known, they must learn to make a new home for themselves — wherever they are. And sometimes the smallest things — a cup, a blanket, a lamp, a flower, a story — can become a port of hope in a terrible storm. As the refugees travel onward toward an uncertain future, they are buoyed up by their hopes, dreams and the stories they tell — a story that will carry them perpetually forward.

This timely, sensitively told story, written by multiple award–winner Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Sendak Fellowship recipient Rashin Kheiriyeh, introduces very young readers in a gentle, non-frightening and ultimately hopeful way to the current refugee crisis.

There’s Room For Everyone

A child grows and discovers the world. As he lies awake at night, he sees there’s enough room in the sky for all the stars and the moon. When he visits the ocean, he sees there is enough room for all the fish, even for the whales. As he grows up, he doesn’t understand why people fight for space.

The Phoenix of Persia

Retold for a modern audience, the story of The Phoenix of Persia is one of the ancient epic stories of Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) by the 10th century poet Ferdowsi, reminiscent of the classic fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In this ancient Persian, a king awaits the birth of his son but when the child is born with white hair and skin, he is banished to the forest. The young babe is brought up by the phoenix Simorgh until his father realizes the love he has lost and seeks his return. A QR code is included to download Iranian music to accompany the text.

The Parrot and the Merchant

Mah Jahan is a rich merchant who travels far and wide to trade her goods, and keeps countless colorful birds in cages. When leaving for India, she promises to bring back gifts for all her servants, and for her favorite talking parrot. All that the parrot requests is for her to go to the jungle, greet his friends and ask if they have any messages for him. But when she delivers their message, she learns an important lesson about how to treat the ones you love.

Darius The Great Is Not Okay

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian–half, his mom’s side–and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life. Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough–then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.

William C. Morris Debut Award

Lost Boys

In 1982, twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort against Iraq. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country. War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence―they act upon it. Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to? Friendship, heartbreak, and Reza’s very survival are at stake as he finds solace through music and forges his own path―wherever that might take him.

Move Faster Pigeons

Azadeh is anxiously waiting for the time when she can go to school and play with the other children. Her father says that soon she can go, when the clock strikes seven. It seems to Azadeh that the two pigeons in the clock make the hands move by pulling on the bar they’re connected to. The pigeons look tired, but Azadeh wishes for the pigeons to move faster so she can go to school. She discovers that one of the pigeons has a broken wing and it cannot work properly.

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Nothing can distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home.

If You Could Be Mine

In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, 17-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin’s parents announce their daughter’s arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.