TWO PARROTS by Rashin - Interview and Giveaway!

There’s been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in children’s books. Perhaps that’s why TWO PARROTS by Rashin has garnered so much attention. Or perhaps it’s simply because it’s wonderful! I’m happy to have Rashin here to today to talk about her debut US title…

Q. Rashin - You’re in Washington, DC now, but you come via a circuitous route - can you share your background?
I have been working as an illustrator and animator for 14 years now. I studied art at Azadegan Art School when I was in Iran and then I graduated with a masters degree in graphic design from Alzahra Art University of Tehran, Iran in 2009. I started my career as an illustrator with childrens magazines in Iran and then gradually I got involved more in book publishing for children in Iran and abroad. I love my job and I enjoy working for kids.

Q. TWO PARROTS is inspired by a Tale from Rumi, which I’m not familiar with. Can you tell us more?
Rumi was a famous persian poet who lived in 13th century. Ha wrote a lot of great stories for kids, which I grew up with. I wrote TWO PARROTS based on one of his poems. I wanted to write something that showed how freedom and friendship are essential to live happily for every single creature. I hope kids can get my message after reading the book.

Q. I love the big round shape of your main character and the rich colors. What is your method?
I used oil color to paint the images of the book, I also used handmade textured paper, which I got from my last trip in India. When you draw for a fiction story you can always do whatever comes to your mind, in my imagination the main character was a very big guy with a long, funny mustache, who is so kind at the same time and really loves his bird. Exaggerating some part of the body always makes it funnier.

Q. You have over 80 titles internationally. How did you come to do children’s books?
Well, I was very active in the art world, especially in the children's book and animation field both in Iran and Europe. I attended different international festivals, book fairs, exhibitions and conferences about book designing around the world. I won many awards, and that helped introduce my artwork to the foreign publishers.

Q. It seems like here in the US, we should have discovered you a long time ago. I’m just glad we finally have. How has your American debut been?
I have had a great experience working with NorthSouth Books. They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start my career in the United States. I attended Book Expo America 2014 in New York to sign my books for the audience, which was so much fun. I had the chance to meet people and get their feedback about my book in person. I am also visiting different bookstores and libaries in the Washington, DC area and I will be signing at ALA at the end of June.

Q. Your next book, THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY comes out in September. It sounds like you’re on a roll! Can we expect more in the future?
Yes, I am going to work on three famous stories from "1001 Nights" next. These books will be full of adventures and it is very interesting to read. I can't wait to start this book project and I hope children enjoy it.

Q. You have a unique perspective. Do you have any last thoughts you’d like to share with us on diversity in children’s books?
Picture books are the first art gallery show for young readers, we should try to create books that help to improve their imagination and show diversity all around the world, whether that is through the style or the story.

Thanks so much for dropping by and I wish you much continued success!!!

NorthSouth and Rashin have arranged to get a signed copy of TWO PARROTS to two of my lucky followers - woosie!!! Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below.


Kristi Veitenheimer said...

I love the illustrations! Thanks for the chance to win the book.

Anonymous said...

I love the colors of the illustrations, I love the diversity represented, I just flat out love this book. I cannot wait to see The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly! Nice work!

Monica Wasemiller said...

this book is SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great book to read. I love the illustrations