The Little Black Fish

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The original book cover published in 1967. The illustrations by Farshid Mesghali won several awards including the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1974.

The Little Black Fish (Persian: ماهی سیاه کوچولو‎, Mâhī-ye Sīyāh-e Kūchūlū) is a well known Persian language children's book written by Samad Behrangi. The book was widely considered to be a political allegory, and was banned in pre-revolutionary Iran (prior to the 1979 revolution).[1] Other than its notable story, the original illustrations of the book by Farshid Mesghali received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1974 for his "lasting contributions" as a children's illustrator.[2] Various translations of the book have been published in multiple countries. The most recent translation of the book in English was published in 2015 with its original illustrations.[3]


The story is told through the voice of an old fish speaking to her 12,000 children and grandchildren. She describes the journey of a small black fish who leaves the safety of the local stream to venture into the world.

The path of the little fish leads down a waterfall and along the length of the river to the sea. Along the way, the fish meets several interesting characters, including a helpful lizard and the dreaded pelican.

With both wisdom and courage, the fish travels far and the tale eventually ends with the Little Black Fish setting a lasting example for others.


  • The Little Black Fish. Classics of Persian Literature. 2. Translated by Amuzegar, Hooshang. Illustrated by Allison Remick. Ibex Publishers. 1997. ISBN 9780936347783. OCLC 35808282.
  • The Little Black Fish. Art and design by Bizhan Khodabandeh. 2011. ISBN 9780615666075. OCLC 855482613.
  • The Little Black Fish. Translated by Rassi, Azita. Illustrated by Farshid Mesghali. Tiny Owl Publishing. 2015. ISBN 9781910328002. OCLC 902745489.
  • anguage=Croatian. Znanje Publishing. Missing or empty |title= (help)[4]
  • Mahîe Sîe Büçkełanege (in Kirmaşanî Kurdish). Translated by Muhamadreza Bahadur. 2015.[5][2]


  • In April 2015, the new translation of The Little Black Fish by Tiny Owl with its award-winning original illustrations got first in David Cadji Newby's top 10 children's books list for The Guardian.[6]



  1. ^ "The Little Black Fish That Created Big Waves", Negar Esfandiary, BBC Radio 4, 25 August 2011
  2. ^ "HCAA Winners 1956-2014". Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-23.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Crna ribica". Znanje d.o.o. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  5. ^ Bahadur, Muhamadreza (2015). Mahîe Sîe Büçkełanege.
  6. ^ "David Cadji Newby's top 10 quests in children's books", David Cadji-Newby 2 April 2015