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The world of Barzu

Book: Orange and Blue: The World of Barzu by Marina Abrams

Ages: 5+

Relationship to country: A book about a boy who lives in a village in the mountains in Tajikistan

Book in a nutshell:  A book to introduce you to Central Asian stories, food, and culture


A boy named Barzu lives in a kishlak, which means village, in the mountains of Tajikistan. One of Barzu's favorite things is to eat his grandmother's naan. It's interesting that the same word for bread is in Tajikistan as we read about in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It makes me think that the languages must be related! Woah, my mom and I just looked at the world map, and I realized that Tajikistan and Afghanistan are actually neighbors. They probably share a lot of similarities in food and language.

Barzu's grandmother's tanoor, her oven that she uses to bake naan, is getting old though. Barzu's father is an expert tanoor maker, and he makes her a new one. Barzu and his brother take their grandmother her new oven. They take it across the mountains on their bicycle. On the way, Barzu runs into many friends and helps them. When Barzu gets to his grandmother's house, she tells him many stories that are like stories and folktalkes from the region. 

The story in this book is kind of short, but the book is long because it has many stories, recipes, maps, and information about Central Asia. The pictures are also really colorful and interesting to look at. I love the domes on top of the buildings especially.