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.


Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is a high school student. After three years of living in Canada, he enjoys his life here but also dreams of a future where he can return to help rebuilt Iraq and Syria.


Winnie Yeung

Winnie Yeung has been an English Language Arts teacher for ten years. Homes is her first book. She lives in Edmonton with her black pug, Zoe.


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


  • Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing 2019, Short-listed
  • Canada Reads 2019, Runner-up
  • Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction 2018, Short-listed
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    224 Pages
    7.00in * 4.50in * .56in


    May 01, 2018


    Freehand Books



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