Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey
by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr
ORCA Book Publishers, 2016
The artwork, made of water-smooth stones, will fascinate young readers and their parents. River rocks beautifully laid out, tell the story of a Syrian refugee family escaping from their now hostile home to a new, unknown place. The natural hardness of the stones poignantly illustrates to hardships the family experiences. The book includes photos showing how the artist creates the illustration. After the scene is captured in photos, it is dismantled for the next scene, for the artist can’t afford ‘glue’ to make them permanent.
The story starts out on a normal day before there was hostility. But even then, the family wasn’t free, for they could not sing their songs, dance their dances, nor pray their prayers of choice. Then rivers of people began leaving the city, until one day the family decided they must leave, too. Only what they could carry went with them. They traveled by foot, then by boat, hoping they’d be safe, for many others did not survive. After a long time, a family took them in and helped them create a safe home. The story ends on a note of peace.
Beautiful story, exquisite, moving illustrations.