STEPPING STONES by Margriet Ruurs
Kirkus Star


A Refugee Family's Journey
by , illustrated by , translated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Rama wakes with the call of her family's rooster, laughing, playing, and spending her days surrounded by the love of her family.

When war comes to Syria, Rama's happy, peaceful life shrinks, food becomes scarce, and bombs fall ever closer, until her family must leave their home. They walk "to the end of the earth," climb aboard a little boat, and are battered by the roiling sea, saying prayers for those who didn't make it any further. Ruurs writes purely and warmly, with the text set in both English and Raheem’s Arabic translation on each page, of a family who become refugees. She deftly conveys the happiness of peaceful childhood, then the confusion and the fears born of war and migration, and the relief and curiosity of arriving at a new home—and the uncertainty whether it will be forever. Artist Badr still lives in his birthplace of Latakia, Syria. Lacking resources, he began using the stones he collects from the sea to depict stories of his compatriots with love and compassion. Each illustration is masterful, with Badr's placement of stones as careful as brush strokes, creating figures positioned to tell the whole story without the benefit of facial expressions: dancing, cradling, working; burdened, in danger, at peace. A foreword describes how the book came to be.

An astonishing book that allows the humanity of refugees to speak louder than politics and introduces readers to one of Syria's incredible artists. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4598-1490-5
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2016


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