Zarlasht Sarwari has recieved a fellowship from Lost In Books to work on a piture book with artist Uma Jeyaseelan, the pair will develop illustrated children’s stories, drawing inspiration from Zarlasht‘s Afghan storytelling traditions.
Here's an excerpt from an interview about her picture book from The Fairfield City Advance.
Her son Isaac is her inspiration. “As a child growing up the only thing of Afghan culture you see are narratives of terrorism and asylum-seekers,” she said. “I had an idea to write a children’s story that reflected Afghan narratives and culture and oppose the terrorism and asylum-seeking stories as a way to connect my son to his culture."
“I want to draw on Afghan folklore tradition and the stories older relatives used to tell and capture the golden nuggets of wisdom in their story and how it’ll tell a timely message in an indirect way,” Zarlasht said. “When I went to look for books like this there weren’t many that were relatable. So we want to use the Afghan story tradition but place the story here with common imagery, names and locations so kids can relate to it.”