The Camel Book Mobile

The child, wide-legged on the ground, licked dust off his fist and tried to pretend he was tasting camel milk.

American librarian becomes part of a project to bring – by camel – books to Kenyan tribes. Some of the tribes-people like the act of reading and the new worlds that are opened to them, while others worry that tribe values will be replaced by written, fictional ones.

When two books aren’t returned to the book mobile (breaking one of the many rules surrounding the project), therefore risking the future of the book mobile – it’s clear that everyone, pro- and against, are influenced by what the book mobile brought and changed in their little village.

Masha Hamilton shows the small village as normal and the nearest big city as alien. It’s all in the eye of the beholder and what he or she is used to, after all. The main character realizes she is far from home, but doesn’t turn the strange into the wrong. All this comes together to create a fairy tale that is quite close to what any human experiences on a daily basis.

The Camel Book Mobile, Masha Hamilton, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2007

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