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Author of "Good Stories for Good Children" honored

TEHRAN, Feb. 20 (Mehr News Agency) -- The Iranian Luminaries Association (ILA) paid homage to children's writer Mehdi Azar Yazdi on Monday.

"Mehdi Azar Yazdi whitened his beard in love for writing for children, so it's time to remember his innocent face when we are talking about 'Good Stories for Good Children'," ILA director Mehdi Mohaqqeq said during the ceremony, which was attended by a large number of Iranian cultural figures.

"We should pay more attention to children, and particularly to their psychological issues and their situation in school, the family, and society, and also focus on the books meant for them," he added.

Azar Yazdi (b.1921) began writing for children in 1956. He has written seven books, each of which is adapted from a classic of Persian literature and rewritten for children in an easy-to-understand style.

His most famous work was "Good Stories for Good Children", which won a UNESCO prize in 1966 and was selected as Iran's best book of the year in 1967. His book "Adam" was chosen as Iran's best book of the year in 1968.

"Azar Yazdi's life is a review of the thoughts and wisdom of the country's luminaries and also a gateway for the younger generation to learn its experiences and findings over the course of history. This view can enable them to become mature," said Iran Turan Mirhadi of the Children's Book Council.

Published in eight volumes, "Good Stories for Good Children" provides access to the great works of Persian literature like the Gulistan (The Rose Garden), Masnavi-ye Manavi, Marzban-Nameh, Sinbadnameh, and some stories from the Holy Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his Household (AS), she added.

"I hope the book will be continually republished with no abridgments in order to help our younger generation enter the treasury of Persian literature," Mirhadi noted.

"I don't know anyone who loves books like he does," Azar Yazdi's lifelong friend Mohammad Eslami Nadushan said.

Mostafa Rahmandust, Mirza Mohammad Kazemeini, Ali-Akbar Ash'ari, and a number of other cultural figures also delivered lectures during the ceremony, and Azar Yazdi spoke last.

"Encouragement is the main factor that makes a person begin a task and continue it. I had no one encouraging me (when I was young), and my parents taunted me about writing childlike stories," Azar Yazdi said.

"I was 35 when I began writing 'Good Stories for Good Children'... I was not familiar with children's spirit, and my personal experiences were my criteria for my description of childhood in the stories," he added.

"I only read religious books, but I also liked to read storybooks. However, this genre had died out. When I was 35 years old I left Yazd and afterward began reading 'Kalilah and Dimnah', which is very heavy. I found it very beautiful and subsequently decided to write for children. I sought neither fame nor money. I only wanted to do a good job. Thus I wrote 'Good Stories for Good Children'," he said in conclusion.

... Payvand News - 2/20/07 ... --

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