This book has everything and more

“I bought this book as a present for a child but ended up reading it myself before giving it as a gift. First of all, the illustrations in the book are absolutely superb, done by one of the best artists living today in the region of Central Asia. Second, it is very well written. The story is engaging and easy to read for virtually all ages. Yet, the book is meticulously researched in terms of the region’s history, geography and cultural traditions. The author put a lot of effort in delivering the subject in a way that is accessible to all ages, yet doesn’t compromise the depth of information. I plan to buy all of the authors’ future books since it’s so rare that all elements come together, the richness of illustrations, the story and the educational value. Most children’s books today, unfortunately, are nothing like this one.” – Amazon customer 

A unique children book on Central Asia 

“Central Asia is such a beautiful, diverse region, with people of hundreds of ethnicities, but so little is known about it in the West to the general public. Marina Abrams did an excellent job with giving her readers a feel for Central Asia – she did it with the help of a little boy Barzu whose story we follow in the book. The book is meant for kids, but adults will learn a lot from it too! Marina, a native of the region, wrote it with so much love and care, her writing sparkles!” – Togzhan (Amazon customer)

This book takes me back to my childhood… In the mountains of Central Asia… 

“Barzu’s adventures took me back in time to my childhood… In the mountains of Central Asia, where bread is still baked in a clay oven called tandoor. They reminded me of my grandmother’s bread and fairy tales… The stories are gripping, and illustrations are beautiful! We ordered several copies, and gave copies to the local public library and our children’s school library. I also read the book to my son’s second grade class, and the kids loved the story!” – Nodir 

It’s more than just a story, it’s an authentic cross-cultural experience!

“I loved this book for its authenticity. As an American mother raising her four kids (ages 12, 10, 5, 4) in Central Asia, I can’t describe the thrill of being able to read a book to my children that they could identify with. “Bobir’s mom also makes them a ‘kulcha’ every time she makes ‘non’ in the ‘tandoor’!”, my usually quiet 10 year old exclaimed as I read to them.

I’m usually a discount book shopper so it took me a year after seeing it on kick-starter to go ahead and decide to buy this book and I’m so glad I went ahead and splurged. As someone who has lived on 4 different continents, I’ve often been disappointed by other cultural kid’s books because it was obvious that the author had only researched and not actually experienced what they were writing about. Between the author’s personal experience and research, as well as an actual Tajik artist illustrating the story, the richness of this book is in the details. We showed it to our local friends and it was such a joy to see our fellow teachers pointing out details in the illustrations and reminiscing about visiting their grandparents in the village as children and climbing up to their flat roofs where the apricots were drying in the sun!

The book starts out as story that is beautifully illustrated. It has clear divisions so it made a great story for us to read a section at a time each night to my kid’s before bed. While the story ends a bit abruptly, it leaves you wanting more. I believe it is the author’s intent that there will be follow up books about Barzu’s world. It then has recipes for making some of the dishes mentioned. Afterwards, there’s a rich section about the culture and history of Central Asia. I was actually surprised how much, not only did I enjoy the “informative” section, but my older children also got interested in it as well.

It’s a good quality bigger book that has thicker pages so it would do well for a classroom setting.
For those in a classroom setting or homeschooling, this book could make a great curriculum for art, cultural and history as it also has some activities besides the story, ethnography and recipes.
For those parents and teachers wanting to broaden their school-age children’s worldview, this book can provide a great experience. It’s more than just a story; it’s a rich journey through a land and era, we as Westerners rarely get a glimpse of.” – Jennifer (Amazon customer)

“Orange and Blue: The World of Barzu” is the magical key!

I remember the excitement I felt when I discovered Marina Abrams’ book “Orange and Blue: the World of Barzu.” Finally, I thought, someone wrote a book about my part of the world and I cannot wait to read it to my children! Many of my compatriots in a wider, Central Asian sense, must have thought about a book like this. The shelves are quite empty when one searches for good children’s literature about Central Asia especially in English. However, while we were just thinking about it, Marina Abrams wrote, illustrated and published (!) a book like this.

My children grow up with a bewildering mosaic of cultures and languages, but I would not want the culture of Central Asia to be completely eclipsed in this blend by others. After all, the region has much to teach the world about beautifully bridging eastern and western ways, about respect for elders, religious tolerance, about our trademark hospitality and, of course, delicious cuisines. 

“Orange and Blue: the World of Barzu” by Marina Abrams is the magical key that will help a child to open the door to the warm, inviting and mouth-watering world. Not only the book has lovely stories about a boy named Barzu, but it also offers well-researched ethnographic notes for older children. 

The book is a delight for many senses and reading it is only one of them. Visually, it is special. The story is stunningly illustrated by a Tajik artist Farrukh Negmatzade and Marina herself with luminous and colorful drawings. There are also recognizable Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Turkmen traditional patterns on text pages and the frontispiece to inspire children who love to draw. 

Finally, “Orange and Blue: the World of Barzu” is a fantastic conversation opener for those hailing from Central Asia to discuss the world of our childhood, particularly if you are raising children far away from it. The book is truly a gem! Used to children’s books published in series, my kids are already asking to buy them the next one! – Yuliya Smyk 

This is a wonderful book. The illustrations are original and beautiful 

 “This is a wonderful book. The illustrations are original and beautiful. The story is sweet and moving, it sparked so many memories of my childhood visits to Central Asia. My children loved the recipes – yes, you can not only read about, but also make the real treats! I loved the ethnographic notes and sketches – they helped to answer kids’ questions, and showed them that behind a seemingly fictional story there is careful scientific research.” – Anna 

Bright, colorful book to introduce children to other cultures 

“There are not many children’s books about life in Central Asia. This is one of the best ones. The story will take you through adventures of a little boy, Barzu and introduces the reader to what it would look and feel like if you were to grow up in Central Asia. The illustrations of the book are bright, colorful, and unique. It’s great as a Christmas gift for anyone, adult or child.” – Noila (Amazon customer)

A book for every day

“It has been 2 years we have this really good book and my kids ask me to read almost every day. Now they understand more and keep asking me to take them home to Tajikistan.” – Amazon costumer