The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

The idea of delivering books to various tribes in Africa via camel really captures the imagination, doesn’t it? Can’t you picture it? And, in fact, that is how books are delivered in Kenya. The Camel Bookmobile.

Fiona is a librarian from America who is enchanted with the idea of a camel bookmobile, too. Inspired by the idea of taking books to people who have never before held books in their hands, she takes a leave of absence from her job and travels to Kenya to work with the program.

The thing about putting books in people’s hands, though, is that books are dangerous. They change people’s lives in ways that can’t be taken back. What does it mean to take this kind of information to a tribe that’s so isolated from the outside world? This book explored that question, but doesn’t offer any easy answers.

The ending, though not what I wanted, was exactly what it should be. No one survives this encounter unchanged, though not necessarily in the ways that you expect. It was a good reminder of the power of information, but, even more than that, it was a strong reminder to be respectful of other cultures who might not see our “assistance” in the same way we do. Fi went to help these tribes in Kenya, but, in the end, she was changed at least as much as the people she thought needed her help.

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