2016 in [Book] Review Books DiverseKidLit Picture Books Reading Themes

[DiverseKidLit] Rocks that Breathe Life’s Sufferings in “Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey”

Myra here.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in February is Love. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, February 18th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is Love. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • February 18th linkups: Love. Let’s continue to spread our love of diverse books by sharing diverse books about love, families, and relationships.
  • March 4th and 18th: Changing Seasons. As we eagerly await the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern, let’s share favorite books and resources on the seasons.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from last time was Marjorie’s review of IBBY Review: Roses Are Blue by Sally Murphy and Gabriel Evans on Mirrors Windows Doors. This novel in verse shares the struggles of a young girl trying to process her new life after her mother is severely injured in a car accident.

My DiverseKidLit Shout-Out

Now more than ever, we need to share and promote books by and about Muslims, and a great place to start is Kitaab World‘s new series on Countering Islamophobia through Stories. The first entry is a book list featuring Muslim Kids as Heroes. I am also delighted to welcome Gauri, CEO and co-founder of Kitaab World, as a co-host!


The first time I saw this book featured, I immediately ordered it in Book Depository, as I knew that it is the kind of picturebook that I can share with our teacher-students here in Singapore and one that I could very well use in our research as we build a multicultural database to facilitate social and emotional learning in the classroom. Books like these also become even more relevant now with all the articulated hate and self-righteous intolerance witnessed around the world today. May books like these prompt us to pause, consider, and perceive the people we encounter daily with greater kindness and compassion.


Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

Written by: Margriet Ruurs Illustrated by: Nizar Ali Badr
Published by: Orca Book Publishers, 2016
ISBN: 1459814908 (ISBN13: 9781459814905)Bought a copy of the book. Book Photos taken by me. 

The book portrays through evocative stone sculptures or stone art the story of a family living an ordinary life in their village, and who have been forced to seek refuge elsewhere as the ravages of war become keenly felt each day.


It is a simple enough story, one that perhaps a lot of people have been reading and watching about in the world news. Yet somehow, the distinctive artistic interpretation of seeking asylum, finding refuge, leaving home – became more stark and even more powerful through Nizar Ali Badr’s art.


There is quite a lengthy Foreword written by Margriet that shared how this vision came about, as brought about by the author’s being inspired by Badr’s art as shared through Facebook. Nizar Ali Badr was born and still lives in Latakia, Syria. He has a rooftop studio where he puts together the stones he gathers from the nearby beach and transforms into artistic pieces like the ones you see in this book.


Margriet also shared how it took awhile for her to get in touch with Nizar to pitch the idea of creating this book, the circuitous paths she took to reach him, made even more complicated by the language barrier, with Nizar speaking very little English. While the story seemed exceedingly optimistic, with the refugees being welcomed oh-so-warmly by the people who receive them (a sharp contrast to what most people may actually be experiencing in reality), I thought it would be a good balancing reading material to the likes of John Marsden and Matt Ottley’s immensely disturbing Home and Away or even Armin Greder’s hauntingly-dark The IslandYou may also want to know that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to refugee resettlement organizations across North America. I also found this book trailer in Youtube that I thought would be of interest to all of you. Enjoy!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
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Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
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Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
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Jane @ Rain City Librarian
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Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
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Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Hosts for February

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[DiverseKidLit] Rocks that Breathe Life’s Sufferings in “Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey”

  1. I keep seeing this book and am anxious to read it! Love the artwork!


  2. This looks like an amazing book! Thanks for sharing on #diversekidlit


  3. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] Favourite Titles Across GatheringBooks’ 2017 Reading Themes – Gathering Books

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