|About the Book|
It wasnt very long ago that few Americans even knew where Afghanistan was, much less had any interest in its culture or those of its Central Asian neighbors. While things have changed in that regard, there are still precious few childrens books inMoreIt wasnt very long ago that few Americans even knew where Afghanistan was, much less had any interest in its culture or those of its Central Asian neighbors. While things have changed in that regard, there are still precious few childrens books in our country having to do with that part of the world.This lack makes Hoopoe s award-winning series all the more compelling. These enchanting and beautifully illustrated books, which have delighted children, parents and educators since 1998, are based on traditional stories from Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle east, collected and written for children by Afghan author Idries Shah.The latest in this series, THE OLD WOMAN AND THE EAGLE will not disappoint. Superbly illustrated by Natasha Delmar, daughter of the celebrated classic Chinese painter Ng Yi-Ching, and intended for children ages 3-8, it tells with gentle humor what happens when an old woman encounters an eagle for the first time. Perplexed by its unfamiliar appearance, she decides to change it to suit her own ideas of what a bird should look like. Her efforts which much to the poor eagle s chagrin, include straightening its beak, trimming its claws and smoothing its feathers mirror a common pattern of human thought: altering the unfamiliar to make it acceptable.This book, like the previous seven in Hoopoe s series, does more than entertain. It encourages children to think for themselves and helps foster greater insight and mental flexibility in people of all ages. In the process, it also teaches us something about an important but little-known culture.Few Americans realize that, prior to the Soviet invasion and subsequent chaos in that country, Afghanistan was a major cultural crossroads, a place where many races lived alongside each other in harmony and where a rich, diverse culture developed over many centuries. THE OLD WOMAN AND THE EAGLE like its fellow Hoopoe titles provides a beautiful and positive representation of that culture when we need it most.The exquisite illustrations offer a taste of the dress, geography and art of the region. Children delight in the story as they have done for more than a thousand years. At this difficult time, this book can help children get a better understanding of a very important part of the world, what we have in common, and what we can learn from each other.About the AuthorIdries Shah, who died in 1996, spent over 30 years collecting stories from the Sufi tradition and adapting them to contemporary Western culture. His more than three dozen books have been translated into 12 languages. A practical philosophy with deep roots in Afghanistan, Sufism is sometimes mislabeled Islamic mysticism in the West because it is widespread in Moslem countries, although it is not tied to any religion and has included members of all faiths.Natasha Delmar was born in Hong Kong and raised in Argentina. Now she lives and works in the Bay Area. Natasha learned to paint from her father, the celebrated classic Chinese painter Ng Yi-Ching. This is her first book.