From Syria to B.C.: How art made of little stones is teaching kids about the refugee experience —CBC Arts, June 20, 2017

Children’s Books Explore Plight of Child Refugees —Adam Phillips, VOA News


2018 – Reading Lights, Finalist

2017 – Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize, Winner

2017 – CCBC Best Books, Starred selection

2017 – CL/R SIG International Reading Association Notable Books for a Global Society, Commended

2017 – Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize, Finalist

2017 – Rocky Mountain Book Awards, Short-listed

2017 – Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year, Commended

2017 – Surrey Schools Narrative Nonfiction Book of the Year, Short-listed

2016 – Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2016, Commended

“Ruurs writes purely and warmly, with the text set in both English and Raheem’s Arabic translation on each page, of a family who become refugees. She deftly conveys the happiness of peaceful childhood, then the confusion and the fears born of war and migration, and the relief and curiosity of arriving at a new home—and the uncertainty whether it will be forever… Each illustration is masterful, with Badr’s placement of stones as careful as brush strokes, creating figures positioned to tell the whole story without the benefit of facial expressions: dancing, cradling, working; burdened, in danger, at peace.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Readers of all ages will find things of value within the pages of the book…The photographed stone arrangements seem oftentimes to pulse with more life than one might think possible. Whether consciously or otherwise, given his media Badr has create figures that suggest the unbreakable spirit of people seeking freedom and opportunity…This rare treasure of a book is likely to remain highly sought-after for some considerable time…Highly recommended.”

CM Magazine

“Readers will be fascinated by the stone-collage illustrations created by Syrian artist Badr, who arranges expressive tableaux of people formed entirely of rocks and pebbles…A unique offering that will open eyes and soften hearts.”


“Ordinary beach stones were used to make the three-dimensional collages in this arresting picture book…Stone by stone, step by step, it all adds up to a memorable look at what it means to leave one’s home in search of ‘a bright new future.'”

Horn Book Magazine

“Ruurs’ beautiful words are twinned with the most stunning artwork by Nizar Ali Badr…I could not but be moved by Badr’s work, as it is unlike anything else I have ever seen and conveys so much emotion. 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.”

Canadian Children's Book News

“Brilliant and beautiful and inspiring. A book that should be read with every child in the world! An instant classic as solid as the stones on which it is based!”

Eric Walters, Award-winning author and member of the Order of Canada, co-founder of Creation of Hope

“It’s exquisite! One can only pray that its message will spread and make the difference we need.”

Mem Fox, Award-winning and internationally bestselling children’s book author.

“[An] excellent book that will help young readers understand what is happening to the children they see on TV. I can’t recommend [Stepping Stones] highly enough.”

The Children's War blog

“The lyrical phrasing of Margriet’s free verse narrative captures the eloquence and simplicity of young Rama’s reactions to her experiences…Badr instills life into his stone-art with seemingly simple shifts in background, angles, and minute adjustments of one stone in relation to another.”

Nerdy Book Club blog

“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

“This is an amazing book!! Every teacher should own one.”

Jennifer Maruno, Former Principal at Peel District School Board