Tag Archives: Mauratania

Deep in the Sahara By Kelly Cunnane Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi



SubhanAllah, how absolutely wonderful to walk into your public library and find such a treasure of a book.  So simple and beautiful in appearance, in its poetic text, and in its message.  Set in Mauritania, West Africa and sprinkled with Hassaniya (an Arabic dialect), young Lalla wants to wear a malafa, a beautiful, colorful cloth that some Muslim women in Mauritania wear to cover their clothing and heads when they go out in public.  She wants to wear it to be beautiful like her mother, mysterious like her older sister, a fine lady like her cousin, and a long-ago queen like her grandmother but it isn’t until she understands what the malafa means and why the women wear it does she receive a beautiful blue one from her mother.

The illustrations and descriptions take you to a far a way land, with eager anticipation at what you will see, hear and experience.  Culture is shared, tidbits about Islam’s traditions are shared and a wonderfully simple, yet thought provoking story is conveyed.  With an AR reading level of 3.7 this book would be wonderful for story time listeners as well as independent readers.  Also because it is probably not a culture most are familiar with I think students up to 5th grade would enjoy the book and close the last of the 40 pages with a smile on their face and a light happy heart.  Alhumdulillah