The Boy on the Beach
An intimate and poignant memoir about the family of Alan Kurdi—the young Syrian boy who became the global emblem for the desperate plight of millions of Syrian refugees—and of the many extraordinary journeys the Kurdis have taken, spanning countries and continents.Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea on September 2, 2015, and overnight, the political became personal, as the world awoke to the reality of the Syrian refugee crisis. Tima Kurdi first saw the shocking photo of her nephew in her home in Vancouver, Canada. But Tima did not need a photo to understand the truth—she and her family had already been living it.In The Boy on the Beach, Tima recounts her idyllic childhood in Syria, where she grew up with her brother Abdullah and other siblings in a tight‑knit family. A strong‑willed, independent woman, Tima studied to be a hairdresser and had dreams of seeing the world. At twenty‑two, she emigrated to Canada, but much of her family remained in Damascus. Life as a single mother and immigrant in a new country wasn’t always easy, and Tima recounts with heart‑wrenching honesty the anguish of being torn between a new home and the world she’d left behind.As Tima struggled to adapt to life in a new land, war overtook her homeland. Caught in the crosshairs of civil war, her family risked everything and fled their homes. Tima worked tirelessly to help them find safety, but their journey was far from easy. Although thwarted by politics, hounded by violence, and separated by vast distances, the Kurdis encountered setbacks at every turn, they never gave up hope. And when tragedy struck, Tima suddenly found herself thrust onto the world stage as an advocate for refugees everywhere, a role for which she had never prepared but that allowed her to give voice to those who didn’t have an opportunity to speak for themselves.From the jasmine‑scented neighbourhoods of Damascus before the war to the streets of Aleppo during it, to the refugee camps of Europe and the leafy suburbs of Vancouver, The Boy on the Beach is one family’s story of love, loss, and the persistent search for safe harbour in a devastating time of war.

The Boy on the Beach Details

TitleThe Boy on the Beach
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 17th, 2018
PublisherSimon & Schuster Canada
ISBN-139781501175237
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Biography Memoir, Autobiography, Memoir

The Boy on the Beach Review

  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    January 1, 1970
    This is not out until April, and I hope everyone picks it up to read. I'm honoured to have received an advanced reading copy from Simon & Schuster Canada. When it arrived in the mail, and I read what Tima Kurdi's story was, I immediately pushed aside all other reading and started it. "No one can understand our pain unless they walk in our shoes." - page 188 of the ARC, said by Abdullah Kurdi, father of two-year-old Alan, the boy on the beach. Tima Kurdi is Abdullah Kurdi's sister - she liv This is not out until April, and I hope everyone picks it up to read. I'm honoured to have received an advanced reading copy from Simon & Schuster Canada. When it arrived in the mail, and I read what Tima Kurdi's story was, I immediately pushed aside all other reading and started it. "No one can understand our pain unless they walk in our shoes." - page 188 of the ARC, said by Abdullah Kurdi, father of two-year-old Alan, the boy on the beach. Tima Kurdi is Abdullah Kurdi's sister - she lives in Canada, and moved here many years before the war began in Syria. The picture of Alan Kurdi became the wake up call about the Syrian refugee crisis. Abdullah lost his wife and two sons on that tiny boat to Greece to escape the war in Syria and the lesser life they were living in a refugee camp in Turkey. I do hope you read this when it comes out in April and you take some time to walk in their shoes.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for a copy of this important book which focuses on the hardships and heartbreak of refugees and their families. Book received in exchange for a fair review. Most people remember the shock of seeing the photograph of little Alan Kurdi lying dead on the beach. Tina Kurdi, his aunt and author of this book had been attempting to help her brother, Abdullah, father of little Alan, his wife and two sons to safety from war torn Syria. She was also st 3.5 stars. Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for a copy of this important book which focuses on the hardships and heartbreak of refugees and their families. Book received in exchange for a fair review. Most people remember the shock of seeing the photograph of little Alan Kurdi lying dead on the beach. Tina Kurdi, his aunt and author of this book had been attempting to help her brother, Abdullah, father of little Alan, his wife and two sons to safety from war torn Syria. She was also struggling to bring her older brother, Mohammed and family to Canada. Although she had raised money to bring some of her relatives to Canada and had sponsors, there was so much red tape in the way and applications seemed to go nowhere, shuffled from one government department to the next. Everything was at a standstill. At the time the photograph was published, Alan became a symbol of the horror in Syria, and the plight of refugees. I am proud of the present Canadian government which eased up on the roadblocks and brought in many refugees to our country. The same goes for many European countries. Sadly some countries have hardened their hearts, imposing more restrictions. Her family had been a large extended one living a comfortable life in and around Damascus, which she calls Jasmine City. The family was a close one with lots of love and good times. We get the harrowing story of Abdullah, his wife and two little boys attempting to reach Greece from Turkey in a small, unsafe boat and the drowning of his wife and children. They were attempting to get to a safe place in Europe after Abdullah had been tortured and his family were living in poverty. She details the aftermath, where Abdullah suffered PTSD and serious health problems. He subsequently moved to the Kurdish section of Iraq and is helping refugee children there. Tima, from her home in Canada has become a spokesperson for the plight of refugees and for cessation of hostilities in Syria. She has made many trips abroad, and has managed to relocate older brother, Mohammed and family to Canada. She details the plight of other family members, a few still in Syria, but most scattered over Europe, some still in refugee camps. I would like to see photographs in order to put faces on these relatives. Nothing exploitive, and photos of happier times in Damascus, as well as photos of a couple of refugee camps. I felt this would make these many relatives and their stories a more powerful part of the story. I find much to admire in this dedicated woman who persisted in her mission through much worry and stress.
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  • Zachary Houle
    January 1, 1970
    The image of a dead boy on a Mediterranean beach in September 2015 was something that shook the world and, in Canada, brought down and toppled a government. It exposed the world to the Syrian refugee crisis in ways previously thought unimaginable. But do people still remember that picture? Has the spotlight shifted to the circus of the Trump presidency? Maybe, but that boy, Alan Kurdi, is further memorialized in his Canadian aunt’s breathtaking new memoir, The Boy on the Beach. If you had any do The image of a dead boy on a Mediterranean beach in September 2015 was something that shook the world and, in Canada, brought down and toppled a government. It exposed the world to the Syrian refugee crisis in ways previously thought unimaginable. But do people still remember that picture? Has the spotlight shifted to the circus of the Trump presidency? Maybe, but that boy, Alan Kurdi, is further memorialized in his Canadian aunt’s breathtaking new memoir, The Boy on the Beach. If you had any doubts that the Syrian refugees were anything but a peaceful, loving people, you should have no doubts by the end of this book. It’s a bit of an odd memoir in that it is less about a person — though both Tima’s and Alan’s stories and journeys plays a large part, which is a different tact to take because Alan was someone so young — and more about a family.The book is divided into three parts. The first third of the book is about Tima’s family life in Syria with her parents and siblings prior to the current war. It’s painted vividly, a place where jasmine fills the air and all the teenaged girls aspired to be like Madonna. There are portraits of simple, loving family life — such as the tale of when Tima’s mother found out she smoked, and implored Tima to do it in front of her so there would be no secrets between the two. And your mouth may water at the descriptions of delicious, exotic foods. The second third is more about the events that lead to young Alan’s death — along with his mother’s and sibling’s. The wistfulness of the first third gives way to a more devastating account of what it is like to live as a refugee, displaced from a war-torn home with all of its inherent sufferings. The last third is more about the aftermath of the story of Alan’s death breaking in the media and his father’s attempts to come to grips with the loss of his children.Read the rest here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...
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  • Charlene
    January 1, 1970
    Where do I even start with this one? It captured my attention immediately and entirely. The picture of the boy on the beach (Alan Kurdi) is famous and with good reason. To see such a young child laying there as if sleeping, a tragic loss of life, sends us reeling and for some of us it triggers a need to do something, anything. In this book Tima Kurdi shares the reality behind that image. The heartache and devastation that rocked the entire family and almost crushed Alan's loving father. I can't Where do I even start with this one? It captured my attention immediately and entirely. The picture of the boy on the beach (Alan Kurdi) is famous and with good reason. To see such a young child laying there as if sleeping, a tragic loss of life, sends us reeling and for some of us it triggers a need to do something, anything. In this book Tima Kurdi shares the reality behind that image. The heartache and devastation that rocked the entire family and almost crushed Alan's loving father. I can't even begin to imagine the effect it can have on a person to have his wife and children lose their lives while striving to find a safer environment for themselves. This book takes the reader and leads us through a picturesque and stunning description of the family before the war. It's breathtaking, especially for me as a reader that hasn't really experienced family bonding. The warmth, love and peacefulness is something to be savoured. The author then leads us through periods of the war, sharing in detail the fracturing of the family as they all tried to escape the horror and destruction. Tima, having moved to Vancouver, Canada years ago is on the outside, but visits her family back in Syria and shares her thoughts, images, fears of all she witnessed. Later still we visit that point in time leading up to the famous photo and I was so invested at that point that my heart leapt, my breathing no longer coming easy as I felt the raw emotion hit. This is one of those books where you start off as one person and find yourself at the end of the experience feeling totally changed because of it. At least, that was how I came out of it. It's an important read, and one that I dearly hope will be widely read. It gets a 5/5.
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  • Mrsk Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    Tima Kurdi is the aunt of Alan Kurdi. Most of humanity only became aware of this beautiful Syrian toddler when photos of his dead body, which washed up on a Greek beach, made international news during the summer of 2015. I was one of the many who would watch the nightly news and exclaim, “Who would anyone try to cross dangerous waters in a rubber dingy?” Now I know. This book personalizes the Syrian War for those of us privileged enough to watch it, or not, from afar.Tima Kurdi moved to Canada a Tima Kurdi is the aunt of Alan Kurdi. Most of humanity only became aware of this beautiful Syrian toddler when photos of his dead body, which washed up on a Greek beach, made international news during the summer of 2015. I was one of the many who would watch the nightly news and exclaim, “Who would anyone try to cross dangerous waters in a rubber dingy?” Now I know. This book personalizes the Syrian War for those of us privileged enough to watch it, or not, from afar.Tima Kurdi moved to Canada as a young woman and established her life here. When the Syrian War started she worked tirelessly to help her relatives come to Canada as refugees. She describes the idyllic life her family enjoyed in Syria during her childhood when Syria enjoyed peace, jobs were plentiful, food was abundant, water was clean, electricity was taken for granted and education was readily available. Because the Kurdi family was always close knit and spoke with each other on a frequent basis, Tima Kurdi was fully aware and informed of how the war affected her family's lives and why each of her brothers and sisters eventually chose to leave their beloved home land. She chronicles these hardships and changing times in detail for us, exactly as they were experienced by her loved ones. She also documents her repeated attempts to help her family come to Canada as legitimate refugees and the continuous reams of red tape and road blocks that met her attempts.This book is a must read. I have rated it so low due to the many issues with formatting and editing. Tima Kurdi's message needs to be heard.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    This novel is a wonderful, heartbreaking glimpse of what the life of a refugee is in modern times and a call to help those trapped in the system. The author did a beautiful job discussing the plight of her family in their attempt to escape from war-torn Syria as told by the sister that had left years earlier. She discusses the loopholes and ardent rules by the various governments that her family had to follow just to be safe, the hardships her family faced and the devastating loss that finally o This novel is a wonderful, heartbreaking glimpse of what the life of a refugee is in modern times and a call to help those trapped in the system. The author did a beautiful job discussing the plight of her family in their attempt to escape from war-torn Syria as told by the sister that had left years earlier. She discusses the loopholes and ardent rules by the various governments that her family had to follow just to be safe, the hardships her family faced and the devastating loss that finally opened peoples eyes around the world to the plight of refugees.I highly recommend this book and hope that it does for you what it did for me, it opened my eyes to the real story behind the boy on the beach and refreshed that need to do more to help others, especially the refugees that have nowhere else to go. They are simply trying to escape atrocities, war, and ethnic cleansing. They don't choose to live in abject poverty for minor reasons, it's simply to survive.Thank you, NetGalley, the publisher and the talented Tima Kurdi for opening my eyes.
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  • Jody
    January 1, 1970
    My heart broke when I saw that picture... he was near the same age as my son. Alan’s death touched me then, and Tima’s story powerfully shows that we are more alike than different. I cried more than I care to admit while reading this, and after I held my children tight. Nothing else matters as much as it did before I started reading. I have my children, alive and well, and we are together. My whole family. My heart breaks for Syria and for the kind, peaceful people just wanting a safe place to l My heart broke when I saw that picture... he was near the same age as my son. Alan’s death touched me then, and Tima’s story powerfully shows that we are more alike than different. I cried more than I care to admit while reading this, and after I held my children tight. Nothing else matters as much as it did before I started reading. I have my children, alive and well, and we are together. My whole family. My heart breaks for Syria and for the kind, peaceful people just wanting a safe place to live, together. I am forever changed by reading this book. And I implore you, please read. Please know that the suffering of Syrians is not over. And a little kindness can change someone’s world.
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  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    This book really opened my eyes to the plight of the Syrians and how the war has affected so many innocent people. Tima's story is just one of many that has come out of war-torn Syria and I'm grateful that she has been able to put it in writing to help people understand!It's not an easy story to read, let alone write, but I challenge everyone to read this book and at least try to walk a day in the shoes of the Kurdi family! Like Abdullah (Tima's brother) you'll realise, on a deeper level, that l This book really opened my eyes to the plight of the Syrians and how the war has affected so many innocent people. Tima's story is just one of many that has come out of war-torn Syria and I'm grateful that she has been able to put it in writing to help people understand!It's not an easy story to read, let alone write, but I challenge everyone to read this book and at least try to walk a day in the shoes of the Kurdi family! Like Abdullah (Tima's brother) you'll realise, on a deeper level, that love and family is all that matters!
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  • Lynda
    January 1, 1970
    When I picked up this book, I wanted to see and feel what the family involved saw and felt. This book does make this tragic event real. It also show all the short comings of the rest of the world that is sitting warm and safe in their homes. Even though I remembered the news stories from the time, I found it hard to put it down. It is a very emotional read, and very much worth taking the time to read it.
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  • Ray Argyle
    January 1, 1970
    When Tima Kurdi gave up hope that her Syrian brother, his wife and two children would ever be allowed to come to Canada as refugees, she sent him five thousand dollars to pay smugglers to take them to GreeceTima, who grew up as the eldest daughter of a Kurdish family in Damascus – “Jasmine City” – had come to Canada in 1992, married to a man approved of by her parents. Now it was summer, 2015, and the Harper government was dragging its heels on refugee acceptance despite the worsening of the war When Tima Kurdi gave up hope that her Syrian brother, his wife and two children would ever be allowed to come to Canada as refugees, she sent him five thousand dollars to pay smugglers to take them to GreeceTima, who grew up as the eldest daughter of a Kurdish family in Damascus – “Jasmine City” – had come to Canada in 1992, married to a man approved of by her parents. Now it was summer, 2015, and the Harper government was dragging its heels on refugee acceptance despite the worsening of the war in Syria.Throughout the long month of August Tima waited for word that Abdullah and his family had made it across the few kilometres of the Aegean Sea that separated Turkey from the Greek island of Kos. From there, hopefully, they could move north to a European country where they might begin new lives.Abdullah could see the island from where he stood. “I can see it from here. It’s right there. So close and yet so far.” Day after day, he waited, with his wife Rehanna and sons Ghalib, four, and Alan, two, for storm-tossed seas to subside. Twice they set out, only to have their boats flounder. Turkish Coast guard cutters brought them back to shore. The third boat they took overturned and sank in high waves.On the morning of September 2, Tima saw on her cell phone an image of a small boy, drowned on a Turkish beach. It was Alan. His brother and mother had also drowned. Only Abdullah had survived.The Boy on the Beach is the story of how this came about, the price that the people of Syria have paid for the uprising that began in April 2011, and what has happened to Tima’s family since that awful day when TV stations and newspapers around the world carried that dramatic picture.This is a book filled with sincerity and love, but also with frustration and bitter tears of failure. It speaks to the love and intimacy of Tima Kurdi’s family, of her growing up with a longing to be an independent woman of the world.Tima’s account of her efforts to secure the entry to Canada of Abdullah and his family, and also her brother Mohammad and his wife and children, makes for difficult reading. Tima’s MP carried a letter to the Minister of Citizenship, Chris Alexander, pleading for approval. Nothing happened.By now, in 2015, Abdullah had been captured and tortured by an ISIS gang in Syria . He had found refuge in Turkey with his family, as had Mohammad and his. That summer, Mohammad joined the exodus to Germany, one of a million refugees who walked most of the way from Greece. After the death of Abdullah’s wife and children, the Canadian government relented, flew Mohammed’s family to him in Germany, and allowed them to come to Canada as refugees under Tima’s sponsorship.The death of Alan Kurdi became an issue in the October, 2015 Canadian federal election. Why had the government been so slow to react to the crisis? Tima Kurdi writes with remarkable restraint of her experiences with the refugee system, and tries to avoid placing political blame. Canadians were not so charitable toward the Harper government, turning it out in favour of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals who promised to allow 25,000 refugees into Canada by year’s end. They missed that target by but a few weeks.(Like other Canadians, I was shocked by the picture of Alan Kurdi on the beach in Turkey. We organized a committee of writers in Kingston, Ontario to sponsor a refugee family. Syrian writer Jamal Saeed , his wife and two sons recently celebrated their first year here.)The Boy on the Beach stands as a personal testament to the disaster that has overtaken Syria, and how the world has reacted to the upheaval of seven million people. The book concludes with Tima’s reunion with Abdullah in Iraq, where he has settled in Erbil, capital of the Kurdish autonomous region. Together, they have launched the Kurdi Foundation to assist children living in refugee camps.Tima Kurdi is unsure whether writing this book has helped her find answers to questions that have haunted her since Alan’s death. She hopes it will help people understand that “we are all essentially the same; we all dream of healthy, peaceful, safe lives … We are more similar than different, and we are stronger when united.” Tima will speak at the Kingston Writersfest in September, 2018.(My thanks to Simon and Schuster for an advance reading of this book, which will be published April 27.)
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  • Norah Gibbons
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book to read from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi is the story of the family of the little boy who drowned while trying to seek refuge from the war in Syria. The photograph of Alan Kurdi was seen all around the world and I think it made clear that the people trying to escape from the wars in their homelands were families just like ours and not just numbers. This story is heartbreaking but it is such an important story and as d I received an ARC of this book to read from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi is the story of the family of the little boy who drowned while trying to seek refuge from the war in Syria. The photograph of Alan Kurdi was seen all around the world and I think it made clear that the people trying to escape from the wars in their homelands were families just like ours and not just numbers. This story is heartbreaking but it is such an important story and as difficult as I found it to read this book I continued because it was the least thing I could do to support those seeking safety. Reading this book helped to increase my understanding of the desperation felt by those seeking refuge. I do recommend this book, I think it is a story that needs to be told and to be shared.
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    If you ever had doubts about why we let refugees in to our country... read this! I have always supported opening doors for displaced people but this makes me want to do even more. Powerful. These people lived normal prosperous lives just like us before they were literally bombed out of their homes. Even though Canada may be a new home it will never be “home”.
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  • Daryl Moad
    January 1, 1970
    Not only have I never received this book; I wasn't even notified that I'd won it.
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