While the story presented in Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey, is fantastic it is the art that really blew me away. It is an experience book that you must experience on your own, without any real background, to fully understand the delicateness of it all. Margriet Ruurs found the artwork of Nizar Ali Badr online and found the artist after a lot of twists and turns. Long story short (you can read the story in the book), they collaborated. And Stepping Stones was born.
A young narrator in prose poetic language tells us of their journey from innocent at home to their journey as a refugee. The stone characters are both soft and hard, and telling most of all. The poems, the flow of things is in a child voice, but one who has experience. The little details (getting a new doll) are as important as the why they left (the bombings). And Badr literally gives us a piece of his home by using stones as his medium.
The mix of English and Arabic ties the two worlds together and allows multiple audiences access to this picture book. (Which I wish was not the case, as that format can turn older children off,). Iit works for several ages, just know your audiences. Plus, children (and adults) who have not been exposed to the Arabic language can see it. (And I hope this is not insulting, but I think the written language looks like pieces of artwork. Plus, I admit, it looks like the shorthand my mother used so, I have a little memory tossed in as well).
I did not OMG OMG BEST BOOK EVER, but I did come away with DANG! That’s good!