When I Coloured in the World

Ahmadi’s picturebook empowers a child to make changes in an imperfect world with the tools at hand. The narrator uses her crayons to address how she would make the ‘bad’ things in the world better.

Every new page has a word that the character changes. Rubbing out words that represent hardships and replacing them with colourful words that represent their opposite allows children to think about new ways they could envision the world. Frightening concepts like hunger, darkness and illness become controllable. ‘I rubbed out that word “drought.” I wrote “rain” with my silver crayon. Rain. Silver. I made it rain all over the world, and everyone had to put up umbrellas! I gave the world silver.’ 

Abdollahi’s abstract and colourful illustrations are paired with the changes the narrator has made to the world. The combination of the playing children, colourful flowers and intricate designs lend a folkloric feel to the book, making it fun to look at as well as read. The illustrations only show a happy world, leaving the original concepts to the imagination. Ahmadi presents difficult situations in life in a creative, non-threatening way, easy for a young reader to understand. The playful way the narrator creates her own world is refreshing, making the reader feel joyful, uplifted and, at the same time, thoughtful.

Book Cover - When I Coloured in the World
Publication Date
October 2021