Interview with Nahid Kazemi, SHAHRZAD & THE ANGRY KING
In this reimagined Scheherazade tale, story-loving, scooter-riding Shahrzad meets a boy who recounts fleeing from his home, where the king has grown angry and cruel. Shahrzad imagines herself zooming off in her toy airplane to confront the king. She tells him story after story, making him reflect on the kind of leader he really wants to be. We live and die by the sword? Not exactly, says Shahrzad. We live or die by the stories we tell and how we see, frame, and word the world.
Max's Boat Pick:
SHAHRZAD & THE ANGRY KING
By Nahid Kazemi
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books (January 11, 2022)
Can you tell me the origin story behind Shahrzad and the Angry King?
NK: "I have always wanted to turn one of the stories of One Thousand and One Nights into a book. When I came to Canada, I started reading the book more carefully and I realized that behind all the stories of the One Thousand and One Nights lies the story of a woman who saved a city from death and healed the king through the power of storytelling, tact, wisdom and love that she injected into stories. The idea for my story originates from here. I rewrote this story dozens of times. After a while, I thought about what stories Shahrzad might have told the children if she had lived in this era. Then the character of the little girl in my story formed in my mind. Someone who looks like today's children with a simple appearance and is interested in hearing other people's stories. In the end, with the power of storytelling, wisdom and patience she also heals the king."
Are there any other picture books you love that are a modern reimagining of an old or classic tale? "The Prince and the Porker, by Peter Bently and David Roberts, is a reimagining of Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper.
Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler"
What would be on your list of 100 best picture books of all time?
"The Forest by Riccardo Bozzi, Valerio Vidali and Violeta Lopiz
The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin
The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
The Little Flower King by Kveta Pacovská
The Sun is Yellow by Kveta Pacovská"