March 11, 2019

Book Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

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. 
Sea Prayer is heartbreakingly beautiful. Hosseini paints simple and indelible images with his words, accompanied by Dan Williams watercolor illustrations.  Told from the point of view of a Syrian refugee father, who recounts his family’s idyllic life before the bombs fell, the decimation, and the terrible aftermath. His fears and hopes for his son, against terrible odds, are universal.  Read it as a gift to yourself then gift it to someone else.  All proceeds go to help refugees.  
“I look at your profile
in the glow of this three-quarter moon
my boy, your eyelashes like calligraphy,
closed in guileless sleep.
 I said to you
‘Hold my hand.
Nothing bad will happen.’”

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