Penn State

Amir B. Marvasti - associate professor of sociology, Penn State Altoona

Book Title: The Little Black Fish

Author: Samad Behrangi

Book Description:

For an academic, picking a favorite book is a little like a parent choosing his most beloved child­it can be done, but it probably shouldn’t be. That said, after much reflection I chose The Little Black Fish (phonetically spelled mahi siahe koochooloo), a children’s story book I read back in Iran when I was about eight. In truth, I don’t remember the plot very well, only that the little black fish manages to escape from a pelican’s pouch at some point. In some ways, the story is not unlike The Brave Little Toaster, The Little Engine that Could, or Disney’s Nemo. For better or worse, I read it because I had to. My older brother, who was in college at the time, required that I read a book a week during my summer vacation. In fact, he quizzed me on the contents whenever he was home from college (let’s just say he had a carrot-and-stick approach to learning, and it was not in my best interest to disappoint him). I was introduced to many books during those years, but The Little Black Fish is the only title I remember. I suspect because it was the first book that made me appreciate the magic of the written word—the way an author can place one word after another, make sentences, and transmit her thoughts to another whom she has never met—and if I remember correctly, the illustrations were magnificent too.

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