*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Sea Prayer
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A short, powerful, illustrated book written by beloved novelist Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone. Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution, and he will donate author proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe.
It’s been a long while since a book has moved me so easily to tears, but this illustrated story inspired by the young boy whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey, conveys through art the intense struggle of the refugees fleeing Syria in search of safety. Illustrated by Dan Williams in incredible watercolour, Sea Prayer, moves from a beautiful and vibrant portrait of a pre-war Syria fields, markets, and food–a place where people of many faiths coexist and respect one another–through the rise of darkness and war. The tones change from such colour, to oppressive greys and browns devoid of life and hope.
This epistolary story, from a father to a son, tells the stark truth of this family’s life. The father, like any father, wants only the best for his son. This story is desperate and regretful, a prayer almost, hoping for life, but fearing death. It shows the deep and unwavering faith that children place in their parents and how parents bring joy to their children, shielding them as best they can from the horrors of the world. Through word and stunning visuals, Hosseini and Williams jointly share a tale that is to relevant, honest, and raw. They share absolute truth. It is a story that we all need to read and understand.
I would highly recommend this story. It’s short–a picture book–so it’s an incredibly quick read, but the emotions it brings with it are surprising and fierce. It’s an intensely moving story, but as Hosseini impressed us with The Kite Runner and A Thousands Splendid Suns, so too did he impress me with Sea Prayer.