SEA PRAYER by Khaled Hosseini

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

An illustrated book on the refugee crisis that will break your heart in under 48 pages, from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite RunnerA Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed.

“Intensely moving. . .Powerfully evocative of the plight in which displaced populations find themselves.”– Kirkus, STARRED Review
 
“Hosseini’s story, aimed at readers of all ages, does not dwell on nightmarish fates; instead, its emotional power flows from the love of a father for his son.”– Publishers Weekly, STARRED BOX Review

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.

Khaled Hosseini is one of the most widely read writers in the world, with more than fifty-five million copies of his novels sold worldwide in more than seventy countries. Hosseini is also a Goodwill Envoy to the UNHCR, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides t our list is as varied as our readers.


The synopsis from the publisher is almost as long as the book. Not kidding. This book looks like a children’s book; it’s the same size as many picture books, is fully illustrated across two pages at a time with a sentence or two of text. Parents will have to decide if they want to read this to their children. It is not a pretty story.

It is unclear to me who illustrated the book as Hosseini’s name is listed as the author, and I couldn’t find an illustrator.

I borrowed the e-book from my library through Axis 360 and the formatting was terrible, making it impossible for me to read the fine print on the introductory pages. (I don’t know how it formats on the Kindle.) There is a warning that comes with the ebook:

**Please note that this will work best on a color device and will appear in a horizontal format**

Even reading the text was difficult, I had to enlarge each page as it came up. So if you want to read this, I recommend the hardcover.

I’m not sure why Hosseini chose to write a book like this. I understand the impetus, as explained above, but I don’t understand why he didn’t just write a novel. I suppose this is a very dramatic way of expressing himself. It took me less than 5 minutes to read (even with bouncing back and forth to enlarge) but it has stayed with me. It is a very powerful story.

It was also turned into an illustrated film, available on YouTube. Enjoy.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SEA PRAYER by Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead Books (September 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-1501173028. 48p.

Kindle

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