A New Chapter

7 stories about arriving

For the 25th edition of Kolibri, Baobab's list of recommendations for cultural diversity in children and youth literature, 10 authors and illustrators were invited by Baobab Books to contribute with a unique story. Having themselves migrated and opened «a new chapter» in their lives, they have found their place in society, not least because of their artistic work.

What started in the 1970s in a small circle, nowadays seems more important than ever: Conveying literature to children that tells of life and especially living together, while encouraging critical and independent thinking. However, the book market has its own set of rules, which not always fits the needs of potential readers. Thus there is currently the need for bilingual children and youth literature.
Libraries, literacy promoters and teachers therefore have been complaining the lack of suitable reading material which can accompany young people integrating themselves into society – languagewise, but also thematically.

On the occasion of Kolibri's 25th birthday, Baobab Books wanted to contribute to this. We invited ten authors and illustrators to broach the issue of migration: Hamed Abboud, who fled Syria in 2012 and now lives as an author in Vienna, and the illustrator and social worker Ahmed Dahi from Egypt. Chrysa Chouliara, who was born in Greece and has now found a home in Switzerland after many years of travelling. Mohomodou Houssouba from Mali, who teaches and writes poetry at the University of Basel and realizes book projects such as this together with his wife, the artist Pia Gisler. Koostella from Brazil, who lives and works as an illustrator and publisher of graphic novels in Basel. Thubten Purang who fled Tibet as a child and became a potter in Liechtenstein. Nacha Vollenweider, whose Swiss forefathers left for Argentine, as well as Mehrdad Zaeri who fled Iran as a boy. He now works as a freelance artist and illustrator in Germany; for this project he joined forces with his sister the author Mehrnousch Zaeri.

Together they created seven works:

 

Hamed Abboud/Ahmed Dahi: Der Ritter der Schlüssel – فارس المفاتيح 
Chrysa Chouliara: Die Insel – το ΝΗΣΙ 
Mohomodou Houssouba/Pia Gisler: Gesänge am neuen Ufer – Chants du nouveau rivage – Harimee taaga dooney
Koostella: Europa
Thubten Purang: Zuversicht, mein ständiger Begleiter – ངའིརྟག་་པར་གྱི་བློ་གཏད། 
Nacha Vollenweider: Die Uhr – El reloj
Mehrnousch Zaeri/Mehrdad Zaeri: Wenn das so einfach wäre – کاش به همین راحتی بود  

The seven books published in november 2018 are presented in nine languages: Apart from German these are Arabic, Farsi, French, Greek, Portuguese, Tibetan, Songai and Spanish. They are a gift to public and private libraries, schools and further institutions and organizations throughout Switzerland that engage in the support of migrants. The books are not for sale and do not enter the regular booktrade.

Hamed Abboud ©Nina Oberleitner
Chrysa Chouliara
Pia Gisler
Mohomodou Houssouba
Ahmed Dahi
Koostella
Thubten Purang
Nacha Vollenweider
Mehrnousch Zaeri ©Bilderlaube
Mehrdad Zaeri ©Laube

14.12.2018