On the border of Somalia and Kenya, there isn’t a library, or a book mobile, there is a traveling camel library! While the main character is more excited about the camels, at least his friend is excited about the books in this AR 3.2 story.
Muktar is an orphan who dreams of his life before his parents were killed as a nomad tending to their camels. Their teacher, Mr. Hassan calls him lazy as he dreams of the camels he misses, but one day, a librarian from Garissa comes on camel to bring books to the orphanage, and while Ismail and the other kids are excited for the books, Muktar is drawn to the desert beasts. Muktar notices that one of the three camels is injured and recalling the root to help sooth the ailment, he tears his shirt, treats the wound, and covers it. When seeing his abilities, the librarian, Mr. Mohamed asks him to come with him to tend the camels as they travel with books through the desert.
The story definitely makes readers appreciate the life they have, and realize how simple and harsh others’ lives can be. I like the mention of the foods, giving insight into the culture, but I didn’t like the harshness of the adults. The calling the boys lazy, not taking Muktar food as he tends the camels, not being concerned about the injured camel until Muktar insists he notices, all made me a bit sad. Yes I was glad that Muktar was able to resume a nomadic life with camels, but he wasn’t given a say in it. And sure I’m glad that his friend Ismail will get books and be able to work toward being a teacher, but somehow it wasn’t a warm book, and I can’t quite identify why.
The pictures, however, are warm and detailed in the present, with Muktar’s memories being more hazy and muted. There isn’t any mention of religion, but being the characters are Somali and their names being what they are you can assume they are Muslim. There is a short author’s note at the end that tells about the war causing the nomads to become orphans and the library service that works to share books.