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Taking refuge


FOR MOST of us, social media is nothing more than a way of avoiding the more important things we should be doing. But it was via Facebook that Margriet Ruurs, author of more than 30 books for children, found inspiration for her latest picture book, Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey, out this month with Orca Book Publishers.

As Ruurs was surfing online one day in fall 2015, an image in her news-feed caused the author (and owner of Between the Covers, a book-themed bed-and-breakfast on Salt Spring Island, B.C.) to do a double take. In the tender image, a mother carries a child in her arms; the father trudges behind with a heavy load on his shoulders. What made the art even more impressive than the scene it presented was its medium: carefully arranged and photographed pebbles. Curiosity piqued, Ruurs went to the Facebook page of the artist, Nizar Ali Badr, where she found thousands of photos, many equally touching. “When you see them bent over, under the weight of what they’re carrying, and then you see joy – and for goodness sakes, it’s just rocks!” says Ruurs.

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