Homes - Freehand Books

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  • Publication Date: May 1, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781988298283 / 1988298288
  • 180 pages; 5" x 7½"

Free Reading Guide

2019 Canada Reads Audience Choice Winner and Finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction and the Shaugnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria – just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy – soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone – and found safety in Canada – with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.

“Both Homes and The Boy on the Beach humanize a conflict that has too often been condensed to numbers, statistics, and nameless victims . . . These eloquent, nuanced, and heartbreaking books — filled with life in the face of death — deserve to be read with all the compassion and courage it must have taken to write them.” QUILL AND QUIRE starred review

“From a safe distance, the violence of the Syrian civil war is too vast and grotesque to grasp. How does one comprehend the deaths of 500,000 people, after all? Homes grants readers an intimate view of the war through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy as he struggles to play, pray, and survive as his world collapses around him. Homes stands as one of those rare books that manages to find humanity in the inhumane and, in the end, says more about love than war.” MARCELLO DI CINTIO winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing for Walls: Travels Along the Barricades

“This charming and warm-hearted book is a refugee story like no other. A captivating read.” DEBORAH CAMPBELL winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award for Non-Fiction for A Disappearance in Damascus

“Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is brave, his family are brave, and Homes is a compelling, honest chronicle of one harrowing journey across collapsing nation-states. Winnie Yeung does a fine job bringing out the humanity in this — and by extension, every other — refugee tale.” CHARLES FORAN author of Mordecai: The Life and Times

Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, 2018 (short-listed)
Canada Reads, 2019 (runner-up)
Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, 2019 (short-listed)
Wilfred Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, 2019 (winner)
Alberta Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year, 2019 (short-listed)

News & Events

Three Freehand books win at Alberta Book Publishing Awards
Freehand Books Shortlisted at Alberta Book Publishing Awards
Homes: A Refugee Story wins the 2019 Wilfred Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung at StarFest, St. Albert
Homes: A Refugee Story shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
CBC Books features Canada Reads contender, Homes

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