Stepping Stones


I learned of the existence of this poignant, relevant book while reading the Toronto-based blog, Pickle Me This (link below). 

The story is of Rama and her family who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village in Syria to escape the ravages of the civil war. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama’s family sets out to walk to safety in Europe. Nizar Ali Badr’s stunning stone compositions illustrate the story.

How someone can evoke emotion through the arrangement of small stones is beyond extraordinary.  A perfect example of why the world needs artists.


Here’s the book description from the book website 49th Shelf (link below) – “This unique picture book was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, discovered by chance by Canadian children’s writer Margriet Ruurs. The author was immediately impressed by the strong narrative quality of Mr. Badr’s work, and, using many of Mr. Badr’s already-created pieces, she set out to create a story about the Syrian refugee crisis. Rama and her mother, father, grandfather and brother, Sami, set out to walk to freedom in Europe. Nizar Ali Badr’s stunning stone images illustrate the story.”


Kerry Clare from Pickle Me This writes “They join, “A river of strangers in search of a place to be free, to live and laugh, to love again. In search of a place where bombs did not fall, where people did not die on their way to market. A river of people in search of peace.” The author’s text also appears on the page in Arabic, translated by Falah Raheem, making the book accessible to more readers and bring another player into this gorgeous literary transnational collaboration, a book that is very much of this moment and yet timeless at once.”

If you purchase this book, proceeds will be donated to an organization supporting refugees.

6 thoughts on “Stepping Stones

    • Writing workshop? Do you mean the one in Italy that I won a place for? It’s running right now, but I didn’t go because in the end I learned that I had to pay 2,000 euros.

      I know. I don’t think I’ve seen anything so poignant as these stone compositions. Quite extraordinary.

  1. thanks, Juliet. I just ordered this as a gift for my granddaughter. Maybe she will be inspired to use her stone and rock collection to make art.

    • That’s wonderful, Heidi. I’m glad to hear it. I’ve contacted IMA here (Institut du Monde Arabe) to inform them of this book in the hope that they’ll stock it in their bookstore. I’ll contact other bookstores.

      Thanks for writing.

  2. Thank you, Juliet, for sharing the news about my new book. I love Nizar’s art and am so glad that his images and my words will help to generate compassion and funds for those having to flee their homeland. Happy reading!

    • Margriet Ruurs, your book is a revelatory piece of work that exposes this tragedy in a highly original way. Happy reading indeed (mingled with tears). This is a shining example of why the world needs artists. Thanks so much for writing.

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