Bilingual picture book
One day Margriet Ruurs, spending time on Facebook, was
transfixed by a picture made of stones of a family: a woman cradling
a baby and a man carrying a heavy load.
"Wait a minute, I thought. How can stones display such
emotion? Who is the artist who can breathe such life into solid rock?"
Fortunately one of the stones was signed. Nizar Ali Badr, the
artist, is a Syrian. The war in his nation is the topic of much of
"Nizar's work spoke to me strongly. In his art I saw people
changing--from happy, carefree children into people burdened and
fleeing. There was hurt and sorrow. But ultimately there was also
love and caring. All of this told with stones."
Ruurs wanted to create a book around this amazing art. Her
first challenge was contacting the artist. It's not all that easy to
contact an artist in a war torn country who speaks a different
language. Also she was going against the order for children's book
creation with pictures coming before text. And she wanted a portion
of the proceeds to go to organizations that help refuges. Amazingly
she pulled it all together. We truly benefit from Stepping Stones: A
Refugee Family's Journey, the amazing fruit of her labors. Script is
in both English and Arabic.
Rama and her family are first happy farming, going to school,
playing. Then war came. Neighbors fled. Then it was their turn.
"That night I lay in bed and cried
Because I knew I would never again
Hear the crow of the rooster, the creak of the gate,
The bleat of our goat.
I lay awake and listened to the wind,
Wondering if the moon rises the same way in other places."
So begins their journey toward hope and freedom from fear.
Stepping Stones is a must acquire for public and school
libraries and a beautiful addition to family collections.
On a personal note, I love the Albert Einstein quote at the beginning
of the book: "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved
by understanding." These words of wisdom are more necessary now than
maybe any other time in history.
A great big shout out goes out to refugees, people who help them, and
Sent from my iPod