By Setareh Behroozi

Cleric mesmerizes children with story, color, ball

January 24, 2018 - 8:26

TEHRAN -- story, color, ball; these are words written by the cleric Esmaeil Azarinejad on his bio on Instagram account.

Exploring his page, you encounter a young cleric with a book in his hands reading out for children in deprived area.

The magic of reading book for children is something, which cannot be overlooked by anyone. The doors, which open to you via this magical world, should not be ignored. Once you realize the pleasure of book reading, you feel responsible for transferring it to others. 

Azarinejad is not an exception. A cleric whose costume and possible adverse comments cannot deter him from advertising book reading among children in deprived area.

The magic of reading book for children is something, which cannot be overlooked by anyone. Once you realize the pleasure of book reading, you feel responsible for transferring it to others.

Azarinejad, 38, is the father of a 12 year old son named Hossein and a 6 year old daughter, Arghavan said that he has witness that book reading works like a magic on his children and he cannot deprive other children from it. 

I’ve read a book about a turtle who learns to stop himself from acting out and to calm down by pulling himself into his shell when Arghavan was only four,” he explained in an interview with the Tehran Times.

“Months later, she advised an older person who got angry to ‘pull himself into his shell’ and since he had no shell, a blanket or another room is a perfect choice.

“You see, so children learn from books and inspired by the stories we read to them,” he continued.

Azarinejad said that he has faced several same stories during his career about reading out to children.

In addition to his Hawza studies, he got his B.A. in sociology and M.A. in mysticism.

He is now Imam of the Jama’at, praying in congregation, at a mosque in his hometown Dehdasht, southwestern Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, and also university professor at his city.

“I felt complete despair with university students who only studying to gain a degree and unfortunately highschoolers only think about the entrance exam,” he lamented.

Hence, he comes to conclusion that the pleasure of book reading should be discovered in early ages.

“I decided to launch a cultural activity at the mosque and my choice was book reading for children,” he explained.
“Unfortunately book reading and cultural activities are ignored in deprived area,” he said.

Azrarinejad said that his family accompany him during his program in deprived villages. He said that his son promote book reading at his school as well.

“I was a bookworm in my childhood. I have more than 200 volume of book when I was a teen,” he explained.

He said that the pleasure of book reading he experienced in his early age makes him to promote children book reading these years.

Story, color, ball: Crucial devices to develop relationship

He named story, color and ball as important elements for establishing relationship with children in rural areas.

“Playing football with children is a great way to befriend with them and to play it cool,” he said.

He said that he befriend with children in deprived rural areas through games and painting.

“I ask them to paint on stones and in this way they trust me and then it is the time for introducing books to them,” he said.

Through discussing the stories, they gain self-esteem and understand that their idea and thought is important.

He said that he also do some sideline activities like theater performance and painting about the book they have read.

In traditional view, a cleric should promote Islamic rules and the Holy Quran. However, he has a different view.

“I do not agree with memorization of surah of Holy Quran in early ages. The Holy Quran contains several stories and even God ordered Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to teach people through stories,” he explained.

He said that he dispatches Hawze students to villages at the weekend.

He said that people has a very positive reaction to his activities.

“Since I have an Instagram and Twitter account, I receive several feedbacks about the issue and most of them are positive,” he said.

Azarinejad said that many people support him by sending books or money to promote book reading.

“I try to read books with high quality to children about social behaviors and I believe that they should benefit from up to date books in these areas,” he concluded.

People like cleric Azarinejad make other to feel hopeful about the future. They understand the worthy of childhood and try their best to make the world a better place to live. May we all take a small step to have a better world!


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