Friday, September 24, 2010

Mehdi Azar Yazdi

Mehdi Azar Yazdi (1921–2009) was born in Yazd .He started writing books for children in 1956. He wrote Seven books, each of which is adapted from a classical book in Persian literature and re-written for children in an easy- to-understand style.
His most famous work is "Good Stories for Good Children" which won the UNESCO Prize in 1966 and was regarded as the best book of the year in 1967. Also another of his books "Adam" was chosen as the best book of the year in 1968.

Noted author of children’s books Mehdi Azar Yazdi was born in 1921 in Yazd . His ancestors were among Zoroastrians who converted to Islam. He learned to read and write from his father and later continued his studies on his own. In 1944, he left his hometown and came to live in Tehran. Azar Yazdi worked as a construction worker and a simple laborer in sock-weaving workshops, publishing houses and bookshops. He worked for noted publishing houses like Amir Kabir, Ashrafi and Etella’at.

"Good Stories for Good Children” was written in eight volumes based on the great works of Persian literature like the Gulistan (The Rose Garden), Masnavi-e Manavi, Marzban-Nameh, Sinbadnameh, and some stories from the Holy Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his Household (AS). Azar Yazdi planned to write other volumes for the series.

He was also author of “The Naughty Cat,” “The Playful Cat,” “Simple Stories,” “Poetry of Sugar and Honey” and “Masnavi of Good Children.”

"Mehdi Azar Yazdi and his adopted son"

He is survived by his adopted son Mohammad Saburi, who met Azar Yazdi in 1949.

Mohammad had been referred for employment to a photography house in Yazd where Azar Yazdi used to work.

Azar Yazdi was leaving the store when he came upon the eight-year-old Mohammad weeping after having been rejected by the owner of the business. He adopted him on the advice of one of his friends.

"Mehdi Azar Yazdi sayings"

    “Encouragement is the main factor that makes a person begin a task and continue it. I had no one encouraging me (when I was young), and my parents taunted me about writing childlike stories,”

Azar Yazdi once said during a ceremony was held by the Iranian Luminaries Association to honor him in February 2007.

    “When I was 35 years old I left Yazd (his homeland) and afterward began reading ‘Kalilah and Dimnah,’ which is very difficult. However, I found it very beautiful and subsequently decided to write for children. I sought neither fame nor money, I only wanted to do a good job. So I wrote ‘Good Stories for Good Children’,”

he said during the ceremony. Azar Yazdi never married. Once, he was asked the reason for this and he joked,

    “I could not live with a crazy woman, and if she was a wise woman, she could never live with me!”

He believed that life owes him something, saying,

    “I have frequently been only at someone else’s service. I have always economized and have had a hard time of it."

    “I never eat well, except at parties or here (at his adopted son’s home in Karaj). I am never well dressed. Some people consider me to be stingy because of my economical ways. When I have no income I have to economize. Thank God, that I have never done evil and never have had a bad reputation.”