Ms. Mojdeh Hassani Along with Daughter Samira Iravani Read Their Children’s Book, Mama Shamsi At The Bazaar, to NS Elementary Students
On Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25, Ms. Mojdeh Hassani along with her daughter, Samira Iravani, visited all three North Shore Elementary Schools to share their new children’s book, Mama Shamsi At The Bazaar, with all K-5 students. Ms. Hassani is a teacher and resident of Sea Cliff and has worked at the North Shore Schools for years.
Set in Iran, little Samira follows Mama Shamsi as she gets to go to the bazaar with her grandmother for the very first time. This book, on the other hand, does this brilliant job of making you understand just how fun it is for a little kid to play under her grandmother’s big chador. Read the Authors’ Notes at the back and you realize that for kids with chador-clad grandmothers, this is a kind of universal way to play.
“The goal of this book was not just to demonstrate the love of a grandmother and her granddaughter in a different culture, but to also emphasize that these beautiful love stories are similar in every culture,” said Ms. Hassani. “The more you know about other cultures, the more you will fall in love with learning about others. We wanted to show the softer, warmer, and sweeter side of a black chador that has been represented very negatively in this country.”
While at each elementary school, the mother-daughter duo explained to the students that it took over five years to create Mama Shamsi At The Bazaar. They discussed the importance of writing about what you “know and love” (i.e., Ms. Hassani’s grandmother). An analogy was made to a watermelon to describe the many different topics a person can write about. Ms. Hassani emphasized that first you pick a seed from the watermelon and that is your small moment to write about. Afterward, you embellish the specific details of your watermelon seed in your stories like she and Samira did by focusing on the bazaar in Iran. Additionally, they asked the students at each school what they would love to write about and answered many questions about the writing, illustration, and editing process.
To the delight of the students, Samira also demonstrated how a chador, the black cape, was worn while Ms. Hassani told the children how her grandmother held it in her teeth while holding her hand through the crowded bazaar in Tehran. Additionally, Ms. Hassani said it was like “the curtain of a stage” that allowed her to play and imagine being many things including a beautiful princess!
Thank you to Ms. Hassani and Samira Iravani for sharing their beautiful story with the K-5 students at the North Shore Schools. For more information about Mama Shamsi At The Bazaar, please visit:
Article and photos by Shelly Newman