"This should be in a children's book!" I thought.
It took me three months to make contact with Nizar who lives in Latakia, Syria and finds both his inspiration and art supplies on the beach. He collects rocks and arranges them into beautiful images.
I used some of those images to put them in a sequence. Then I wrote the text for the story which I imaged his art told. It is the story of a refugee family.
Thanks to the internet I was able to communicated with Nizar and one of his best friends. We discussed the possibility of making a book for children together. Then I contacted Orca Book Publishers who create beautiful books. They agreed that Nizar's art makes amazing illustrations and contracted him to be the illustrator.
I can't wait to hold the actually book in my hands as words, art and design come together.
Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family's Journey will be out by mid October. Much of the proceeds will benefit refugee causes.
I hope you will be able to get a copy and share Nizar's art.
You can order to now from your local book store or click here to order and to see the trailer:
The publisher will make available books at a special discount to any schools who would like to sell the book as a fund raiser for a refugee cause of their choice.
• Mem Fox, award winning author of Possum Magic says: "It’s exquisite! One can only pray that its message will spread and make the difference we need".
• "Stunning, original artwork both childlike and sophisticated; a text that will both break and mend your heart.” Jane Yolen, Award winning author of Devil’s Arithmetic and The Stone Angel.
• KIRKUS review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/refugee-odysseys/
• ILA named the book a Notable Book For Global Society, 2017
• Quill & Quire article: http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/kidlit-spotlight-a-chance-discovery-online-led-author-margriet-ruurs-on-a-journey-to-her-altruistic-new-picture-book/
• Times Colonist: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/tale-of-refugee-family-s-flight-is-set-in-stone-1.2362119
• Canadian Teacher Magazine: http://www.canadianteachermagazine.com/article_2016_li_stepping_stones.html
• CM Magazine: http://umanitoba.ca/cm/vol23/no2/steppingstones.html
• Fall 2016 BookNews, Canadian Children's Book Centre, review by Sandra O'Brien: '... beautiful words are twinned with the most stunning artwork... I hope this beautiful book will reach the shelves of classrooms, libraries and homes throughout the world and be read and shared many times over!'
A Swiss concert pays tribute to Nizar's art:
• Publishers Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-authors/article/72308-canadian-report-december-2016.html