Books·Canada Reads 2019

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is a high school Edmonton student and published author.

Co-author of Homes, defended by Chuck Comeau

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is the storyteller behind Homes, which was written by his English language teacher, Winnie Yeung. (CBC)

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah's memoir Homes, co-written with Winnie Yeung, will be defended by Chuck Comeau on Canada Reads 2019.

The 2019 debates are happening March 25-28, 2019 and will be hosted by Ali Hassan

About Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is a high school student in Edmonton, Alta. He published his first book, Homesin 2018 with Winnie Yeung. The book is a memoir of al Rabeeah's experiences as a young boy in Syria in the midst of civil war. He and his family moved to Canada in 2014.

Homes was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction.

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah on connecting with Canadian readers

"I hope readers [walk away] knowing how similar we are, how we have the same things, even though we are from countries far apart. When I first came to school [in Canada], some of my friends asked me, 'Do you guys have chairs back in Syria? Do you have schools?' These kinds of question led me to telling my story. The other thing [I hope people learn from the book] is that, yes, we went through a lot of bad stuff, a lot of problems. But we still had a good life there. There are still people who are happy living in Syria.

We went through a lot of bad stuff, a lot of problems. But we still had a good life there. There are still people who are happy living in Syria.- Abu Bakr al Rabeeah 

"Once, after a speech, people came to talk to me. They said, 'We have some new Syrian refugees in the school and now I understand how to connect with them.' That's one of the things that I love."

Read more in Abu Bakr al Rabeeah's interview with CBC Books.

Books by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Interviews with Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung on why we need to understand the refugee experience

3 years ago
Duration 3:52
In this special Canada Reads 2019 edition of the CBC Books' video series, the co-authors of Homes talk about how caring for others is a part of our shared humanity.
Canada Reads contenders Winnie Yeung & Abu Bakr Al Rabeeah talk to Shelagh Rogers about their book, HOMES: A Refugee Story. (CANADA READS SELECTION)
Winnie didn't imagine at first that she would write a novel based on Syrian refugee Abu Bakr al-Rabeeah's life, but that's exactly what happened. Homes, a novel based on her student's story, has topped the bestseller list in Edmonton.