“. . . Since then, (1979, after the Shah fled Iran to escape the Islāmic revolution), this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half of my life in Iran, I know that this image is far from the truth. This is why writing Persepolis was so important to me. I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists. I also don’t want those Iranians who lost their lives in prison defending freedom, who died in the war against Iraq, who suffered under various repressive regimes, or who were forced to leave their families and flee their homeland to be forgotten.
One can forgive but one should never forget.”
~From the introduction of THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS
Marjane Satrapi, Paris, September 2002
Our November KEM GEM, Persepolis, The Story of a Childhood changed everything I thought I knew about life in Iran. I had no idea that, pre-1979, Iranian women and girls were free to dress as they choose. I had assumed their restrictive dress code had been a part of their culture since the time of Mohammed. In reality, the fundamentalist rulers made it law after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Did you know that?
Read Persepolis:The Story of a Childhood to learn why we consider it a KEM GEM. Then, join the KEM GEM conversation. Please share your thoughts with us in the COMMENTS section. We’ll post a new book recommendation on the 15th of next month, so plan to revisit to our KEM GEMs often. We’re excited to read and converse with you!
If you’ve already read the story, I highly recommend watching The Complete Persepolis motion picture, winner of the Cannes Film Jury Prize in 2007. Your heart will break for the plight of the Iranian people while you fall in love with Marjane, her colorful grandmother and her courageous family. The artistically exquisite movie provides a perfect summary and refresher after reading the two-part memoir.
INTERVIEW WITH MARJANE SATRAPI
- January - Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illustrated by Marla Frazee
- February - Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
- March – Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee; ill. by Tony Fucile
- April – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- May – Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
- June – Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
- July – Hen Had Her Ham by Meish Goldish; illustrated by Andy San Diego
- August – Kira-kira by Cynthia Kadohata
- September – 1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman, illustrated by Colin Jack
- October - The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, ill. by Patricia Costelao
- November - Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
- December – The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- January – The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering
- February – Sold by Patricia McCormick
HOW KEM GEMS BEGAN