With the help of my local librarian I managed to track down a couple more of my good friend Jim Rumford’s children’s books.
Silent Music … A story of Baghdad….. by James Rumford for ages 4 – 8 yrs
I was surprised to learn this was not about music, nor was it centered on the ravages of war, but instead about a young boy and the power of his pen. Apart from playing soccer and loud music like any typical boy of his age, Ali also loves calligraphy, inspired by Yakat a master Calligapher of the Arabic Language from 800 years earlier. When Baghdad was rained on by bombs in 2003, Jim wanted children to learn something positive about a country he had come to know. Through a background of desert coloured patterns, subtle images of warfare illustrations done in pencil and charcoal and then computer enhanced, he shares a little of himself through Ali.
Jim and Ali’s love of Arabic calligraphy is evident in the colourful descriptions and the Arabic words themselves give way to lyrical text.
I was interested in this story as it reminded me of my love of shadow writing and the small amount of hyroglific writing that I used to do as a child with my school work. (something I had inherited from my Mother). Although there is text boxes and snippets of Alis writing throughout, it is near the end of the book, that a two page spread of this sweeping Arabic writing made to look like sheets of music that you understand the words…..”, dancing to the silent music.”
This his first book for Roaring Brook Press was named an ALA Notable Book, an NCSS Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies, a 2009 Jane Addams honour Book and a 2009 Charlotte Zolotow Honour Book.
Tiger and Turtle … by James Rumford for ages 4 – 8 years
This was a lovely lighter side to James Rumford’s books and I thought of one of my Hub friend’s, Joanna, when I requested the book from my library. This unlikely pair fight over a flower and while a tiger’s claws cannot harm the turtle’s shell anymore than the turtle cannot outrun a tiger, we follow their argument through the bright colourfully illustrated pages and learn an important message. In the front of this book we are privileged as Jim shares with us how he came by the inspiration for this story in Old Kabul, Afghanistan.
It is the chance meeting in the street, a sighting out a bus window, or overhearing a conversation in a crowded café, maybe visiting a new town, village or country which sparks the imagination and stories are born.