Interview with Reza Dalvand— Mrs. Bibi’s Elephant


What a joy to engage in this conversation, especially while sheltering in place over 7,000 miles apart! Iranian author and illustrator Reza Dalvand is internationally recognized for his dynamic artwork and storytelling. He has published over 15 books across Asia, Europe and North America. 

Mrs. Bibi’s Elephant tells the story of how a unique friendship pushes the boundaries of expectations to show a whole village the true meaning of home. 

If the story resonates with you, I hope you will:

  1. Find your favorite indie bookstore online (mine are Books, Inc. and Keplers)
  2. Order Mrs. Bibi’s Elephant for yourself or someone you love
  3. Spread the word! Share this post, write about the book on your own platforms, keep the buzz alive. It is a win : win : win for your community, the author, and for YOU. You will fall in love with this story!

5 words that speak to your current state of mind: 

Quarantine, hope, illustration, life, love

How did you dream up such a vivid, winsome story? 

The basis of the story was from a few years ago when my neighbour had a cat. She was an old woman and she spent most of her time with her cat. It was a little strange to the other neighbors, but I thought the cats were so cute. So, I mixed it with dreams and a drama, and of course a giant elephant!

Favorite line from Mrs Bibi’s Elephant?

“Everyone learned that home is more than. just a place for fancy objects and economics. It’s a place for living.”

What do you hope kids take away from this story? 

Love, friendship, and accepting different thoughts and lifestyles.

A meaningful moment in your journey of bringing this book to life? 

When I finished the first page, my sister asked me: is she our granny!? When I took a look, I thought: OMG! Yes she is! I had drawn her, even her dress and her hair style! From then on, I created with even more love.

I knew I wanted to be a writer when… 

At first, I wanted to be an illustrator. I studied Graphic Design in BA and MA in Illustration. But I had a lot of ideas— I had a notebook full of the storylines. So I started to write them when I was in college. I told myself: why not! It was so wonderful that I could illustrate my stories and the result was so nice 🙂  

Valued writing habit or quirk? 

I usually have a plot in my mind or a key sentence in my notebook. Then I work on the frames and the final text comes after the illustrations are finished! Sometimes I have a reverse process, too. Of course, a cup of tea and a quiet place are two important things to write!

Words of wisdom for aspiring writers and/or illustrators? 

Don’t despair and keep going. even if you have just an audience of one. 

What is giving you hope today? 

The good messages that I get from my readers. Sometimes I don’t know their location, language or culture! This tells me to keep going because you really can be effective in the world. It’s so valuable for me!


Mrs. Bibi’s Elephant is published by Flying Eye Books and launched on April 7, 2020

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