Please welcome my guest author, Joan Schoettler, with her 7 children’s books on Armenia, Celebrating Armenia and the Armenian Culture through Picture Books and Middle Grade Novels. October is Armenian Cultural Month so this is a great time to learn about Armenia’s rich cultural heritage.
We are giving away two signed copies of The Honey Jar. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Thank you, Mia, for inviting me to contribute to Pragmatic Mom. I am here to celebrate and share Armenian picture books and middle grade novels. We learn about other cultures through exposure to their customs, traditions, lifestyles, families, music, dance, art, and food. Reading invites children to learn, to ask questions, and to understand the diversity of people in our world. Books set in Armenia invite readers to learn about this country set in Eastern Europe.
There is an Armenian tale that three pomegranates fell down from heaven:
one for the storyteller,
one for the listener,
and one for the whole world.
Each of these featured authors tells a story of importance to them. Their books present their tale to each of you as a reader or listener. Now you have the opportunity to share their stories with your world.
7 Children’s Books on Armenia:
Celebrating Armenia and the Armenian Culture through Picture Books and Middle Grade Novels
The Honey Jar: An Armenian’s Escape to Freedom by Joan Schoettler
My debut middle grade novel, The Honey Jar: An Armenian’s Escape to Freedom was inspired by a true story. Only some members of a family escape the Armenian genocide, and one of them, just a boy during the flight, must return to find a sister who was left behind.
In 1920, eight-year-old Bedros fled Armenia with his young sisters, grandmother, and uncle to escape the Turkish soldiers invading their town. But in the confusion, Bedros lost sight of the adults and was left alone to protect his siblings. Hungry, cold, and overwhelmed with responsibility, Bedros failed to remember his promise to his mother…
Told in verse, suspenseful, and heart-rending, The Honey Jar depicts a journey from desperation to freedom, anchored in Bedros’ promise to return to his native land and to find the one he left behind. His story will touch the hearts of families everywhere, especially those who have experienced the longing for a new life. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Babo: The Tale of an Armenian Rug Washing Day by Astghik Kamalayan, illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan
Grab your scrubbing brushes and step into an Armenian ritual with young Tato, her family, and friends. Bábo: The Tale of an Armenian Rug Washing Day appeals to readers of all ages. Bábo and her grandchildren will charm you from the first page. Playful, lighthearted, and charming, you will want to join the children with their grandmother on this special rug-washing day. Poetic words roll over the page, bounce with joy, and draw the reader in! It is magical! Anait Semirdzhayan’s illustrations delight, demonstrate, and depict a frisky rug washing day, the love of Babo, and a kitchen table full of Armenian treats! Children will want this read over and over again. Astrid Kamalyan’s book begs to be on the shelves in homes, classrooms, and libraries to share Armenian culture and traditions.
The Greedy Sparrow by Lucine Kasbarian, illustrated by Maria Zailkina
This charming, classic Armenian folktale shares the lesson about being too greedy. The sparrow meets a baker, a shepherd, and wedding party, and a minstrel and at each surprising plot turn, the reader sees the greedy tricks the sparrow plays. With an engaging plot, vivid illustrations, and a reminder of honesty, this story will be one children will want to read again and again. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Armenian History: A Journey for Children by Helen Norsigian Rowles
This informative book takes children on a journey through Armenian history. Stories of important kings and apostles summon readers to become familiar with the Armenian culture. This colorful book engages the young reader to step in and learn about Armenian history. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
A Weave of Words by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Raúl Colón
In this Armenian folktale, Prince Vachagan is hunting in the forest when he meets and falls in love with Aniat, a weaver’s daughter. Aniat refuses to marry Prince Vachagan because he cannot read or write or make a living using his hands. Determined to win her hand, the prince learns to read and write and to weave an exquisite carpet. In the end, his weaving skills save their kingdom. This energetic and animated story will capture the hearts of young readers who appreciate traditional folk tales. The framed illustrations invite the reader to pay close attention to colorful details.
Parev Yerevan and Parev Hayastan by Taleen Moughamian
Taleen’s two board books are written to introduce young children to the Armenian language and culture in a fun and engaging way.
Parev Yerevan is an entertaining and educational board book written in Western Armenian. It is light-hearted and whimsical and exposes children to the spirit of the Armenian capital city, Yerevan. Parev, Yerevan takes the reader through well-known sites in Yerevan and showcases Armenian culture and history in a simple and captivating manner.
Parev Hayastan continues with the same characters from Parev Yerevan, taking them through well-known sites throughout Armenia. Both books celebrate Armenia and the Armenian spirit in a way young children can easily relate to. These books are an ideal engagement tool for children and the adults who read to them and foster a positive connection with Armenia at a young age.
The translation, transliterations, books, and audiobooks are all available online at www.parevbooks.com (http://www.parevbooks.com/)
Mia, thank you for the opportunity to share these Armenian books. I look forward to sharing more Armenian picture books, and middle grade novels, as they are launched in 2024-2025.
Two Signed Copies of The Honey Jar GIVEAWAY! 2 Winners!
We are giving away two signed copies of The Honey Jar. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
Art, nature, and lived experiences of people from diverse backgrounds fascinate me. My writing weaves these components into stories, inviting children and adults to step into new insights of our world.
I have written three picture books: Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, Ruth Asawa: A Sculpting Life, and A Home for George. The Honey Jar: An Armenian’s Escape to Freedom is my first middle grade novel. I began working on this project at the time of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in 2015. My interest in the roots of Fresno Armenians led me to this story. When I first heard of this young boy’s trek, I knew I wanted to share it with others.
My writing demonstrates a global view as my stories traverse the world: Germany, Korea, Mexico, the United States, Japan, and China, and include a variety of genres. I believe in paying attention to what we love, to those who touch our lives, and to treasured moments to incorporate in our writing, making our stories come to life.
I live with my husband in California where we have raised three sons.
To learn more, visit her website, and follow her on Instagram: @joan.schoettler, Facebook: @ joan-schoettler, Twitter: @SchoettlerJoan, and Pinterest:@joanschoettler.
p.s. Related posts:
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Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World
- Junior Library Guild Gold selection
- Selected as one of 100 Outstanding Picture Books of 2023 by dPICTUS and featured at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
- Starred review from School Library Journal
- Chicago Library’s Best of the Best
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.