Rumi: Poet of Joy and Love

NorthSouth. Mar. 2024. 40p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9780735845442.
K-Gr 4–Rumi was a widely celebrated Islamic scholar, Sufi mystic, and 13th-century Persian poet whose work is still popular today. Kheiriyeh transforms a distant and revered figure into a warm, bright focal point in this biography of a young child who becomes a man whose words and ideas still inspire awe. The illustrations are vibrant and lush, with striking colors, blue cloth-like textures, and gold detail adorning individuals, while hoopoe birds of rainbow plumage dive among flowers of the most colorful hues. It’s here that Rumi is born to loving parents, and where he dances and learns. Joy spills from each page and, while little ones may not understand such beautiful lines as learning “generosity from the sun,” it provides opportunities for engagement and discussion with adults. Rumi becomes a scholar with a large following, but he is unhappy until a new friend enters his life. Kheiriyeh demonstrates how this friendship, and its loss, spurs Rumi to write his incredible stories and poems, as well as focus on universal love within God. While religion is mentioned, the focus is Rumi’s writings and the message of accepting others. Back matter includes an author’s note, extended biographical information, and a reference source.
VERDICT A first purchase for all libraries; there are too few beautiful portraits of beloved Persians.

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