The book Window Horses is the graphic novel adaptation of the animated film of the same name. The novel and film were written by Vancouver film maker, Ann Marie Fleming.
Protagonist, Rosie Ming is a young woman, of mixed heritage – Chinese and Persian – living in Vancouver. Her father abandoned them when she was a little girl, returning to Iran to be with his dying mother and never returning. Her mother died in a car crash shortly after, and so Rosie was raised and still lives with her maternal grandparents. She writes poetry and has self-published a book of poems dedicated to a city she has never seen – Paris. Unexpectedly, she receives an invitation to attend a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, and against her grandparents wishes she insists on going. While in Iran, she meets other aspiring poets from China and Germany, and is introduced to the works of the Persian poets, Rumi and Hafiz. She learns about Persian traditions, food and culture; in the process she meets relatives and begins to unravel the secrets from her past.
The main focus of the story is her journey to self-discovery, gaining the confidence to discover her cultural identity and her own poetic voice.
Although there are a number of artists involved, the main contributor is Canadian animation and design artist, Kevin Langdale. Rosie, the signature creation of Fleming, is represented by a stick-figure, with small slants for eyes, wearing a bright pink beret and triangle skirt. Rosie’s sparse figure is in stark contrast to Langdale’s more traditional characters who appear in modern and cultural dress with highly expressive facial features. When Rosie arrives in Iran she adopts the traditional chador but gradually replaces it with a pink headscarf as she uncovers more about herself and her past.
“A heartwarming exploration of art, poetry, and culture, this is an inspired look at forging connections and finding one’s place in the world.”(School Library Journal April 2018 issue)
Anne Marie Fleming’s feature length animation film, of the same name, previewed in North America at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016.