Posted by: istop4books | February 6, 2010

The Camel Bookmobile by Misha Hamilton

The mere fact that this book will bring awareness to the need of the Kenyan people for education and books gives it my vote of appreciation.   The storyline takes a 30 something year old woman, Fi, away from her Brooklyn home to seek a more meaningful life as a wandering librarian in some of the remote areas of Kenya. She services groups of semi-nomadic people who are mostly illiterate and still clinging to a way of life that they know and treasure, but which is fast disappearing.  Change is looked upon with suspicious eyes, especially when brought
in the form of English books by a white woman on the back of a camel.  Fi has an almost naive sense of her ability to make change for the better, she understands the importance of an education through books and wants to at least expose these people to the possibility of opening their horizons through books. Many of the elders see her and her books as a threat to their own way of life, and an encroachment by the West on their values.  The novel focuses on one village, Mididima, where Fi learns as much as she teaches.  She meets Kanica, a young girl with dreams of more; Scar Boy a young man who faces rejection because of deformities caused by a brutal attack.  And then there is Teacher, Matani, with whom she feels a special kinship.  Along the way there are culture clashes and lessons to be learned both by the teacher and the students.
I liked the book, enjoyed the story and was left looking for more information – which is always a great way to end a book.

The mere fact that this book will bring awareness to the need of the Kenyan people for education and books gives it my vote of appreciation.   The storyline takes a 30 something year old woman, Fi, away from her Brooklyn home to seek a more meaningful life as a wandering librarian in some of the remote areas of Kenya. She services groups of semi-nomadic people who are mostly illiterate and still clinging to a way of life that they know and treasure, but which is fast disappearing.  Change is looked upon with suspicious eyes, especially when brought in the form of English books by a white woman on the back of a camel.  Fi has an almost naive sense of her ability to make change for the better, she understands the importance of an education through books and wants to at least expose these people to the possibility of opening their horizons through books. Many of the elders see her and her books as a threat to their own way of life, and an encroachment by the West on their values.  The novel focuses on one village, Mididima, where Fi learns as much as she teaches.  She meets Kanica, a young girl with dreams of more; Scar Boy a young man who faces rejection because of deformities caused by a brutal attack.  And then there is Teacher, Matani, with whom she feels a special kinship.  Along the way there are culture clashes and lessons to be learned both by the teacher and the students.
I liked the book, enjoyed the story and was left looking for more information – which is always a great way to end a book.

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