“All I can do is pray.”
What’s The Book About?
Sea Prayer was inspired by the story of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach safety in Europe in September 2015. In the year after Alan’s death 4,176 others died or went missing attempting similar journeys. This book is dedicated to the thousands of refugees who have perished at sea fleeing war and persecution.
On a moonlit beach, a father cradles his sleeping son as they wait for dawn to break and a boat to arrive. He speaks to his boy of the long summer of his childhood, recalling his grandfather’s house in Syria. He remembers the bustling city of Homs with its crowded lanes, its mosque, and grand souk, in the days before the sky spat bombs and they had to flee. When the sun rises they and those around them will gather their possessions and embark on a perilous sea journey in search of a new home.
Sea Prayer is a short but powerful read. At the heart of it is the story of a father and his child who have grown up in two different worlds. The illustrations perfectly capture this story and the change in tone as we witness the father’s memories of a city boisterous with people of different faiths living and thriving together. Then the tone shifts to the world that the son currently inhabits and only has a living memory of – a world of destruction and war.
I thought Khaled did a great job of presenting the father’s nostalgia for the world that he knew and his heartwrenching prayer for his family as they embark on a dangerous journey. This book is a great reminder of the emotional and physical costs of immigration.
Top Three Quotes
“But that life, that time,
seems like a dream now,
even to me,
like some long-dissolved rumour.”
“I have heard it said we are the uninvited.
We are the unwelcome.
We should take our misfortune elsewhere.”
“You have learned that mothers and
sisters and classmates can be found
in narrow gaps between concrete,
bricks and exposed beams,
little patches of sunlit skin
shining in the dark.”
Guide to Book Review Rating
✯ – Meh
✯✯ – Read at your own risk
✯✯✯ – Hit and Miss
✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!