IBT and its partner organization in Azerbaijan, “Kitab”, have published a new edition of IBT’s popular illustrated Children’s Bible (CB) in the Azeri language. Previously, IBT and Kitab had cooperated on the translation of the full Azeri Bible, which Kitab published in 2009. The Azeri title of the new CB literally means “Pearls from Holy Scripture.” 3,000 copies of this edition were printed in Baku this summer and the book is now being distributed among Azeri readers.
The very first Azeri edition was produced by IBT in Stockholm in 1985 and re-printed in 1986 and 1995. Since then, the original Russian text underlying the Azeri translation of the CB was significantly revised, and the full translation of the Bible into Azeri was also released. Besides this, in 2001 the official writing system in Azerbaijan shifted from Cyrillic script to Roman script, which means that most Azeri children today can no longer read their language in Cyrillic script. In order to produce a new edition of the Azeri CB, it was therefore necessary to thoroughly revise the Azeri translation in order to align it with the two above-mentioned texts and publish it in Roman script.
Kitab invited Baku artist Evelina Alieva to produce a full set of almost 250 new illustrations for the revised Azeri edition, which she painted and revised over a period of two years. These colorful illustrations differ from the western European classical artwork used in IBT’s original CB and present the world of the Bible to young readers in imagery that is much closer to the culturally conditioned perception of the world that is held in Azerbaijani society. Before publication, the pictures were field tested among various Azeri children and adults for acceptability and were subsequently revised by the artist based on their comments.
The PDF version of the new Azeri Children’s Bible can be downloaded from IBT’s website.