Wednesday 10 May 2023

Sea Prayer

Finished May 8
Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini, illustrated by Dan Williams

This short book shows a father reassuring his son Marwan as they wait for a boat to take them to what they hope is a better life. It has memories of the past, of better times in their homeland, and of hope for the future.
It also shows a father speaking words of comfort to his son that he isn't entirely sure of himself. 
The memories of a times in nature, watching trees and animals and listening to everyday sounds, and of Homs, a bustling city with its mosque and souk and people going about their day. 
All of that is in the past, changed through the bombs that fell and forced them to flee.
The illustrations work so well here. They have a watercolour feel to them, with light colours of blues, greens, yellows, and reds in nature, and the more muted yet still colourful city scenes. When the book reaches the point where things change, with protests, sieges, bombs, and worse, the colours disappear. The pictures are shades of grey, with only occasional hints of colour, and as the scenes show people leaving for other places they shift to sepia. The sea at the end is a dark sea, greens and blues, and the people still without colour. 
This book was inspired by the death of young Alan Kurdi, and so many other refugees that died trying to reach safety. The author's proceeds of the book go to the UN Refugee Agency and the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, with goes to refugee relief efforts.
This is a moving book, best read slowly, taking in the words and pictures and sitting with them. 

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