Persepolis I and II by Marjane Satrapi

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.

March 2012 Guest Editor Sally Nicholls says: "I am a big fan of books which write about dark subjects with lightness and humour. Marjane Satrapi's story of growing up in Iran after the Iranian Revolution is funny, wise, and very real. The child Marjane is an admirable character, and the humour in her story makes the events surrounding it all the more horrifying."


Persepolis I and II by Marjane Satrapi

Chosen by March 2012 Guest Editor Sally Nicholls. Wise, often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood tells the story of Marjane Satrapi's life in Tehran from the ages of six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran's last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life.

Amidst the tragedy, Marjane's child's eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi's drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts. Persepolis ends on a cliffhanger in 1984, just as fourteen-year-old Marjane is leaving behind her home in Tehran, escaping fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in the West.

In Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return we follow our young, intrepid heroine through the next eight years of her life: an eye-opening and sometimes lonely four years of high school in Vienna, followed by a supremely educational and heartwrenching four years back home in Iran. Just as funny and heartbreaking as its predecessor - with perhaps an even greater sense of the ridiculous inspired by life in a fundamentalist state - Persepolis 2 is also as clear-eyed and searing in its condemnation of fundamentalism and its cost to the human spirit. In its depiction of the universal trials of adolescent life and growing into adulthood - here compounded by being an outsider both abroad and at home, and by living in a state where you have no right to show your hair, wear make-up, run in public, date, or question authority - it's raw, honest and incredibly illuminating.

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'The fact that she [Satrapi] is able to portray such a vast range of emotions with a few simple strokes of a pen is impressive. That she does this consistently for 153 pages is a mighty achievement.' USA Today

About the Author

Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She now lives in Paris where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world, including the New Yorker and the New York Times. She is the author of several children's books, as well as the critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling memoir Persepolis, which has been translated into twelve languages, and was awarded the first Fernando Bueso Blanco Peace Prize in Spain.

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Marjane Satrapi
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Publication date

6th March 2008




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