Goodreads: Sea Prayer
Genre: Fiction, Poetry, Short Story, Picture Book
A short, powerful, illustrated book written by 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.
A short but impactful read. Hosseini knows how to tug on readers’ heartstrings even in a book as short as this one! This touches upon on issue that will remain relevant in many years to come!
Sea Prayer isn’t so much a book as it is actually a heartfelt prayer. One that has undoubtedly fallen off the tongues of the countless thousands who have fled their communities, homes and families to avoid war, death and destruction, for a chance of survival in an unknown land. This story was inspired by Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who died when his family fled across the sea. That little boy whose body washed upon the shore in 2015, and whose image was splashed across newsfeeds all over the world for months, that called desperate attention to the refugee crisis.
It’s so easy for us watching from thousands of miles away to feel sadness, frustration and despair when hearing/reading/watching the news about the war and refugee crises taking place in parts of the world the majority of us have never been to, and most likely never will. It is easy to think that we can understand the plight of these families based on what we’re fed, but really, imagining what it’s like to be forced to flee the only life you’ve known just to ensure that you and your family stay alive? That’s a different kind of fear. In this short story book filled with beautiful illustrations, Khaled Hosseini, with his ability to transport and immerse readers into foreign worlds with his words, was able to give us an idea of what the fear might be like. But he not only captures the fears, but the beautiful memories and the hopes.
“But that life, that time,
seems like a dream now,
even to me,
like some long-dissolved rumor.
First came the protests.
Then the siege.
The skies spitting bombs.
These are the things you know.”
This is a heavy book. It literally took me 5 minutes to read this but within those 5 minutes, Hosseini was able to evoke in me feelings of hope, sorrow and despair. Of course, my eyes were no longer dry. He paints a vivid picture of a bustling city life and the war torn communities that suffer the consequences of the actions of those filled with greed, hatred and pride. Often times we become so desensitized to the news we hear every day that we forget these people who are fleeing and suffering have stories of a life just the same as you and me. They are not just a large group of people with nowhere to go. Each and every refugee that makes it across that sea is not just another number to add to the growing masses. Every refugee is human. With all the bad news that makes it to our screens every day, sometimes I think we forget that they are people who each have their own story; and this is simply one of them.
Short but impactful, this book feeds into a dialogue that will continue to be relevant for many years to come. Khalid Hosseini will donate all 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.
Have you read Sea Prayer? What did you think of it?
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