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The Boy on the Beach selected for Queen’s Reads

This year’s Queen’s Reads book explores newcomer experiences, the global refugee crisis, the politicization of tragedy, and the love and hope of one family on their continuing journey through grief and adversity.

The Boy on the Beach is a poignant memoir about the family of Alan Kurdi, the two-year-old boy who became the global emblem for the Syrian refugee crisis after his small body washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, and the tragic image made headlines around the world.

Author Tima Kurdi is Alan’s aunt, who now lives in British Columbia and is an internationally-recognized spokesperson on the global refugee crisis.

“The Queen’s Reads program uses literature to encourage critical thinking and foster meaningful discussions on campus and within the greater community,” says Kevin Collins, Coordinator, Student Development at the Student Experience Office in the Division of Student Affairs. “The themes in The Boy on the Beach can help us better understand a diverse range of lived experiences as together, we learn and talk about the extraordinary resilience of the Kurdi family.”

Starting in September, Queen’s students will be able to pick up a free copy of the book at a number of locations around campus including the Student Experience Office in the John Deutsch University Centre, Stauffer Library, Victoria Hall, the Queen’s University International Centre and the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in programming and events throughout the academic year, including discussion groups, a festival of short films, a panel event and a scheduled campus visit by Tima Kurdi in Spring 2020.

Once again, local high school students will have the opportunity to read last year’s Queen’s Reads novel, and explore the interconnected stories of a culturally-diverse Scarborough neighbourhood, including recent immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, single parents, and children. Earlier this month, the Division of Student Affairs donated over 200 copies of the novel for use in classrooms across Kingston.

“We are very thankful to Queen’s for their significant donation of Catherine Hernandez’s novel Scarborough,” says Krishna Burra, Superintendent of Education for the Limestone District School Board. “Copies will be shared with all secondary schools in the Limestone District School Board as a potential book choice in class-based book clubs, which provide a valuable learning opportunity for students.”

Learn more about the Queen’s Reads program on the Student Experience Office website.