David Kherdian

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David_Kherdian&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png David Kherdian Mars symbol.svg
Birthplace Racine
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Birth date 1931
Lived in Racine, San Francisco, Lyme Center
Profession Author
Languages Armenian, English
Ethnicities Armenian
Dialects Western Armenian
Major works Road From Home
Spouses Nonny Hogrogian

David Kherdian (born 1931) is an Armenian-American writer, poet, and editor. He is known best for The Road from Home (Greenwillow Books, 1979), based on his mother's childhood—cataloged as biography by some libraries, as fiction by others.[1]


Kherdian was born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1931. In 1971 he married Nonny Hogrogian, an Armenian-American illustrator and writer. For two years they lived in Lyme Center, New Hampshire, where he was the state "poet-in-the-schools". The state university library is one repository for their works (in a joint collection).[2] Hogrogian has illustrated some of his books, both poetry anthologies edited by Kherdian and his own writings.[3] A new edition of The Road from Home was published with her illustrations in 1995. David is married to Nonny Hogrogian


Kherdian won the 1979 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for children's nonfiction,[4] and he was the only runner-up for the 1980 Newbery Medal,[5] recognizing The Road from Home (1979), about the childhood of his mother Veron Dumehjian before and during the Armenian Genocide. The book has been published in most European countries and in many other places, including Japan.[6] It has been reissued several times in the United States and is increasingly read in middle schools throughout the country. In the sequel Finding Home (1981) she settles in America as a mail-order bride. It too is sometime cataloged as fiction.[7]

Selected works

WorldCat member libraries report holding more than 20 books by Kherdian, of which The Road from Home is by far the most common.[8]

  • A Bibliography of William Saroyan, 1934–1964 (1964)
  • Six Poets of the San Francisco Renaissance: portraits and checklists (1967)
  • Homage to Adana (1970)
  • Visions of America (1973)
  • Settling America: the ethnic expression of 14 contemporary poets (1974)
  • Poems Here and Now (1976)
  • Traveling America with Goday's Poets (1977)
  • The Dog Writes on the Window with His Nose and other poems (1977)
  • The Road from Home: the story of an Armenian girl (1979) – biography in some library catalogs, fiction in others[1]
  • Finding Home (1981) – continues The Road from Home[7]
  • Right Now (1983)
  • The Animal (1984)
  • Root River Run (1984)
  • Bridger: the story of a mountain man (1987)
  • A Song for Uncle Harry (1989)
  • The Cat's Midsummer Jamboree (1990)
  • Feathers and Tails: animal fables from around the world (1991)
  • On a Spaceship with Beelzebub: by a grandson of Gurdjieff (1991)
  • Lullaby for Emily (1995)
  • Beat Voices: an anthology of beat poetry (1995)
  • The Rose's Smile: Farizad of the Arabian Nights (1997)
  • The Golden Bracelet (1997)
  • I Called it Home (1997)
  • The Neighborhood Years (2000)
  • Come Back, Moon (2013)


  • Source of this article: Wikipedia.org
  1. 1.0 1.1 See WorldCat member records of The Road from Home for example: Biography, Template:OCLC; FictionTemplate:OCLC. WorldCat does not identify catalog sources but the former is an English language record ("238 pages") and the latter is not ("238 str."). Retrieved 2015-01-31.
  2. "Nonny Hogrogian and David Kherdian: Papers, 1966–1986". Milne Special Collections. University of New Hampshire. Retrieved June 26, 2013. With biographical sketch.
  3. "Nonny Hogrogian Papers". de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. University of Southern Mississippi. http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/html/research/findaids/hogrogia.htm. Retrieved June 26, 2013. . With biographical sketch.
  4. "Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards: Winners and Honor Books 1967 to present". The Horn Book. http://archive.hbook.com/bghb/past/past.asp. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  5. "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". ALSC. ALA.
      "The John Newbery Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  6. Soghomonian, Sarah (May 2005). "Authors David Kherdian and Nonny Hogogrian Speak on Campus". Hye Sharzhoom 26 (4): 3. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20141026020024/http://hyesharzhoom.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/090-HS-Vol-26-No-4-May-2005.pdf. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 See WorldCat member records of Finding Home for example: Biography Template:OCLC; Fiction Template:OCLC. These records seem to be from English-language libraries. Retrieved 2015-01-31.
  8. "Kherdian, David". OCLC WorldCat Identities. WorldCat (worldcat.org). http://worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n79-083930/. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 

External links

Book: Come Back Moon

Kirkus Reviews (Print) September 15, 2013, Sunday



Poet and Newbery Honoree Kherdian (The Road from Home: The Story of an Armenian Girl, 1979) teams again with his wife, distinguished two-time Caldecott-winning illustrator and author Hogrogian, for this gentle animal fable (Lullaby for Emily, 1995, etc.). "Bear couldn't sleep and blamed the light of the moon."

He steals it and stuffs it into his pillowcase. Other animals--Fox, Skunk, Opossum and Raccoon--miss the moon and speculate as to its whereabouts. Crow says to Fox, "You're the clever one. Where did it go?" Fox suggests asking wise Owl. Hogrogian's soft, muted watercolors, further grayed by pencil, depict the parade of woodland creatures en route to Owl's perch, trailing behind Fox's white-tipped tail. When Owl fingers Bear, Fox and Crow hatch a plan. Crow tells Bear a slumber-inducing story, then he and Fox snatch the pillowcase and release the moon. The happy ending reveals the animals dancing by moonlight while Bear sleeps contentedly on. Within plainspoken text and dialogue, Kherdian weaves a folkloric motif--the moon's theft and restoration--with child-resonant tropes: mistaken judgment, compelling curiosity and cooperation to right wrongs. Hogrogian subtly characterizes the animals' emotions and responses without anthropomorphizing them unduly. The keen tilt of Fox's head indicates acute observation, while Bear's heavy-lidded eyes and relaxed pose telegraph imminent napping. (Incidentally, only Bear's gender is conveyed, permitting diverse interpretations for the other creatures.) Charming. (Picture book. 3-7)

Publication Date: 2013-10-15 Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster Stage: Children's ISBN: 978-1-4424-5887-1 Price: $16.99 Author: Kherdian, David

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Critics’ Forum

The Lost Generation: The Poetry of David Kherdian
By Hovig Tchalian

The Armenian-American poet, novelist and essayist David Kherdian, has been writing for decades. His new book of poems, entitled Letters to My Father (2005), represents his latest effort.

Kherdian is unusual in this regard, both for having been so long in a profession not known for supporting its own, as well as for producing any new English-language poetry in the Armenian Diaspora in recent years at all.

At his best, Kherdian writes a melancholy and sometimes nostalgic poetry that expresses simple ideas with a straightforward style and tone. The very first poem in this newest collection exhibits this kind of understated elegance. Kherdian (who, for the sake of simplicity, we will assume is the speaker throughout) recounts a wartime story his father has told him:

They are in the river
he and his buddy
swimming with two
loaves of bread
in upraised hands
trying to keep them dry.

The poet’s compact, terse style lends itself well to the sense that is being portrayed—of a symbolic moment both sad and strange, in which two soldiers carry the source of their livelihood precariously over their heads while wading in the river. (How similar—and yet how different—the scene would have been if the two men were poor African villagers carrying a basket of wheat across the river, one they had crossed a thousand times in familiar surroundings, instead of in a strange and unfamiliar place.)

The poem (and the collection as a whole) conveys well that sense of distance and longing so much a part of the experience of the soldier and the immigrant both. The simplicity of the language thus carries most of the emotional and experiential weight. And when the language slips, it tips the balance back all the more toward the banal and sentimental, as with the words that immediately precede the ones quoted above:

He is telling the tale
to me, his son
who wonders too
where he belongs.

What lifts the poem, almost despite itself, above the level of banality is the central image of those earlier lines, the water carried by the force of the river the men are crossing, once again mediated by the father:

He does not
he does not finish
the story
but looks at me
in wonder
and I no longer see
what he sees
moving water grown still
under moonlight

The poem ends fittingly, with the river’s rushing waters now stilled and the poet’s father refusing to explain or continue to tell the story, with the lines themselves trailing off the page into the present moment. (The poet has intentionally left out the final period.)

The strange simplicity of these final lines conveys the sense of unfamiliarity and distance expressed far less adroitly in the speaker’s earlier lines, as he wondered “too where he belongs…” The moment speaks for itself, with both father and son estranged from themselves and each other, lost in generational and personal stories neither can fully convey.

The image of water makes several more appearances in the collection, in almost every case adding depth and dimension to what would otherwise have been a perhaps too ordinary collection of poems, ironically a too personal account of a relationship between father and son. In a later poem (Nine), the speaker watches his father swimming in the ocean:

I stood on the beach with
mother—or alone—
and watched you, strangely suited,
making even the water you stood in
seem foreign, forlorn.

The generational distance between father and son is amplified by the image, once again, of standing water, now the ocean that separates the continent the father inhabits from the one he left years earlier.

In another poem still (Forty-Three), the son wonders whether his father has walked across a bridge the son always crosses, with the emptiness between it and the water suggesting a past now lost:

. . . Your past
life, my life ungained as yet.
My life, your nightmare,
and the shadows that moved
in the mesh between.

While as a whole, Letters to My Father too often crosses the fine line between style and sentiment, it is in moments like these that it finds its voice and speaks it honestly and without pretense. The collection is not Kherdian’s best work. But it represents the latest episode in a long and successful career whose story other writers and poets would do well to continue.

All Rights Reserved: Critics Forum, 2005

Hovig Tchalian holds a PhD in English literature from UCLA. He has edited several journals and also published articles of his own.

This and all other articles published in this series are available online at http://www.criticsforum.org. To sign up for a weekly electronic version of new articles, go to http://www.criticsforum.org/join . Critics’ Forum is a group created to discuss issues relating to Armenian art and culture in the Diaspora.