'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Review: Stepping Stones

The power and beauty of the picture book has never been more evident as it is here, in this tale of a refugee family’s journey.

Together, the words (in English and Arabic) and illustrations shine with pathos as the tale of Rama and her family in war-torn Syria unfolds.

Rama lives a peaceful, happy life, complete with walks on the sand, stories and hugs. But when war comes to her country, her life is changed forever as the family is forced to flee their homeland and everything they know in search of safety.

Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, who still lives in his birthplace of Latakia, is the sculptor and artist behind the illustrations, each comprised of stones gathered during his walks along the seashore. Badr places the stones together as deftly as an artist wielding a paintbrush, revealing a poignant narrative.

The illustrations complement the gentle poetry of Margriet Ruur’s words, rich with imagery and subtle emotion.

A fascinating foreword tells the story of how Ruurs was inspired by Badr’s incredible artwork to write the story, and how she tracked him down in Syria.

This is a heartfelt and essential book that allows families and schools to share the plight of refugees worldwide and inspire compassion and understanding in children. It even provides a list of links at the back for anyone wanting to learn more and find a way to help.

Title: Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey
Author: Margriet Ruurs
Illustrator: Nizar Ali Badr
Publisher: University of Queensland Press, $21.95
Publication Date: 1 April 2017
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780702259739
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

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