His book Sea Prayer comes at a time when we face a prevalent refugee crisis and is written as a poetic letter from a father to his son, Marwan, on the eve of their journey across the sea. It begins by the father recalling his childhood spent in Homs, Syria and vividly describing the city. It seems like his son never had the chance to experience Homs, the same way his father had.
I wish you remember Homs as I do, Marwan.
In its bustling Old City,
a mosque for us Muslims,
a church for our Christian neighbors,
and a grand souk for us all
to haggle over gold pendants and
fresh produce and bridal dresses.
I wish you remembered
the crowded lanes smelling of fried kibbeh
and the evening walks we took
with your mother
around Clock Tower Square.
This book is gorgeously illustrated by Dan Williams and creates a visual narrative to the fathers monologue in the story. His water-color images follow the tone of the book, moving from light serene colors to dark images that represent the siege and battles that erupted in Syria. No image is too graphic, rather they all subtly portrays the sentiments of letter. This makes it suitable for younger children too.
That harrowing image of a toddler boy who was lying face down on a beach and then being carried by a police officer has been etched into so many hearts and minds. The memorable image is that of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi. Sea Prayer was inspired by that toddler, who drowned while attempting to cross Greece with his family. This book pays tribute to him and many other families who leave worn torn cities in hopes for a safer future.
It is for readers of all ages starting from 7 years and up. Perfect to share with your children!
It serves as a universal reminder of the humanitarian crisis that exists today and the risks people take when in despair for a single moment of peace.
This powerfully narrated and illustrated book needs to be on your bookshelves!
Until next time!