Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, brings us a picture book, that, at least in our library, is for adults. The illustrator of Sea Prayer, Dan Williams, matches Hosseini's story with a sharp contrast in colors as the story unfolds. The biographical statement on the book's back flap says that Williams' illustrations accompanied an excerpt of A Thousand Splendid Suns when it appeared in The Guardian.

Sea Prayer opens as a father tells his son, Marwen, stories of the past. Those stories are first from the father's own past as a child in Homs, Syria, but then they are stories of Marwen's childhood and his mother, of taking the young child to Homs, and experiences the boy doesn't remember. The early illustrations of that time, family stories, are in shades of greens and desert browns, living colors.

But, the account becomes a story of protests, of bombs, of war. Those are shades of blacks, gray, dark brown, the colors and memories of the child Marwen.

Sea Prayer is a story of war refugees, fleeing their homeland, taking to the sea in boats. It's a prayer for a life and future that the young child has not yet experienced. It's a tragic, timely, and timeless story, brought to life by the illustrations.

Read Hosseini's story of the refugee crisis, Sea Prayer. Study Williams' illustrations. Then, you might want to go back to the beginning of 2018 and read Jeffrey Siger's novel, An Aegean April, a mystery involving refugees fleeing to Greece. Both books are ones to linger in your heart and thoughts.

Khaled Hosseini's website is

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead Books, 2017. ISBN 9780525539094 (hardcover), 48p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

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