My Mother’s Persian Stories
Region: The Middle East, Iran
Authors: Saeid Shammass, Shaunie Shammass
Original Language: Persian; English
Illustrator: Saeid Shammass
Descriptors: animals; bedtime stories; folk tales; humor; kings; magic; mysticism; Persian mythology; princes
Age: 8-12 years old
My Mother’s Persian Stories is a collection of 30 short stories presented in English and Persian. Husband, Saeid Shammass, and wife, Shaunie Shammass, worked together to create this collection based on the stories that Saeid’s mother used to tell him and his siblings before bedtime, as well as the stories that he tells his children now. This collection includes such entertaining stories as “The Bird of Seven Colors,” where a king sends his sons on a dangerous quest to find his beloved rare bird a mate. The prince who comes back with a bird of seven colors, seven songs, and seven dances will be appointed next in line for the throne. This really funny story also teaches children the values of kindness and honesty. In “The Magic Zucchini,” a caring, hardworking man is rewarded for his efforts with four magical items from a fairy: a zucchini plant that grows daily and tastes like anything one wishes when cooked; a hen that lays eggs once a day and a golden egg once a year; a fast donkey; and a magical stick that protects the man and his family from harm. The author’s note mentions that the stories in this collection contain “elements of Persian mythology,” mysticism, humor, and “allusions to actual historical events.” Saeid Shammass uses a mixed media approach to the illustrations, combining black-and-white drawings and pictures. His illustrations are inspired by what he imagined as a child while listening to his mother tell these stories. Stemming from the oral tradition, these tales are perfect for read-alouds for younger audiences and can be read individually by children 8-years-old and up.
More About This Book
Notes: For the purpose of this review, only a few of the stories from this collection have been read. The stories in this collection are rich with Persian cultural references that may need to be explained to some Western readers. Shaunie wrote the English stories, while Saeid wrote the Persian stories.
Resources: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/My-Mothers-Persian-Stories-English/dp/9657238307
Reviewed by: Leah Byrnes