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The Camel Bookmobile Hardcover – Apr 3 2007


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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 3 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061173487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061173486
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 15 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,336,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 24 2011
Format: Paperback
Fiona Sweeney is a 36-year-old librarian from New York. She decides, somewhat naively, to move to Garissa, Kenya in Africa in the hope of educating the children and adults of small villages dotting the vast landscape through reading books and learning English. Of course, their current language is Swahili. Fiona receives help from Mr. Abasi and soon her mobile library becomes a reality, thanks to the `camels' who carry the books over the rugged terrain! As they set off, the village of Mididima becomes her favourite stop and there she meets a cast of characters you will come to love.

Written with humour, naivete, drama and wit, The Camel Bookmobile will be sure to brighten your day! It was one of those books that left me leaning my head back and smiling!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 34 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
What a Wonderful Idea!! May 2 2007
By Amy Leemon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book succeeds on many different levels. The storyline is intriguing (imagine books being carried by camel to remote villages in Kenya), there's romance and disappointment, questions on different values in nations and whether its good for one nation to impose its values on another (you'll be thinking about that one for a while),a little mystery and a heroine who means well but manages to learn even while she's trying to educate others.

There really is a camel bookmobile and to read more about it and see photographs, google Camel Book Drive.

This is an exceptional book.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The gift of books is eternal May 2 2007
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is such a lyrical and moving story about the power of books to transform one's life. Fiona Sweeney's efforts in bringing enlightenment and knowledge into the lives of people in the African bush is a story that is poetically beautiful and rings true. I myself remember the bookmobile that used to be the highlight of my young life back in Malaysia. There was a dearth of English books in the school library and to me, the bookmobile represented a window to a wonderful world full of possibilities. Masha Hamilton's book brings back those fond memories for me, and it is a joy to read how books still have the power to transport people, even in the most remote regions of the world, to a whole new world filled with infinite possibilities.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Cultures Clash In The Camel Bookmobile May 23 2007
By LKRigel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Camel Bookmobile is the kind of novel that made me love reading in the first place. Fiona Sweeney travels from New York City to Africa to bring books on camels to villages that follow the rains. In this world, books are as threatening as they are liberating, and their mere presence causes a variety of personal reactions in the people the bookmobile "serves." Fi is drawn into these intrigues in little Mididima when she goes to help resolve a crisis over some missing books. The villagers are no blank slates waiting for the miracle of books -- she rides into a hotbed of desire, disappointment, genius, loss, and love.

Masha Hamilton's long experience reporting all over the world informs her work; her novels don't serve up tidy endings. Here she acknowledges the mundane reality that things do fall apart, but it is effort and intention that make the meaning of things. Cultures clash in The Camel Bookmobile, good intentions may be misplaced -- or not. Hamilton shows how seeds of change never grow in neat rows; and though the gardener may not be present at the harvest, it doesn't mean it was futile to lay the plants.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as expected Feb. 12 2010
By BooksatVioletCrush - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is inspired by the Camel Bookmobile Project in Kenya. The books are carried on Camels to remote areas in Africa where children have little or no source for books. Fi is a librarian from New York who volunteers for this project. She is looking for an escape, a life very different from her own.

Mididima is one of the villages in Kenya where this bookmobile visits. These are the villagers who have their set ways for years. They worship nature, they think they are cursed if it doesn't rain. They have ancient values and philosophies that have been carried down from generations. Obviously they are not too happy about the bookmobile. They think it will corrupt their childrens minds and show them a world which is above their reach, it will take away their traditions. But there are also children like Kanika and Scar Boy (who was attacked by a hyena when he was a toddler) who want to experience something different, who want to widen their horizons.

The author brings out the clash between the modern and the traditional world very well. We think the villagers would be thrilled to have an opportunity to read and learn, but we never think it will clash with their believes and culture.

This book has everything I love in a book, an African setting, lovely characters, beautiful writing, but there was something lacking in The Camel Bookmobile. I couldn't really get into the book for whatever reasons. It does get really interesting midway but again it disappoints at the end. There were important threads that were left open. I am okay with open endings but here it felt really abrupt.

Nonetheless, it is a book I would recommend.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully Accomplished. June 9 2007
By Leslie Schaad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as a recommendation from a friend as he knew my interests and thought this would be perfect. I wasn't in the least bit disappointed. Hamilton unravels the tale of Fiona Sweeney, a modern librarian from the states, who has a mission and a goal: bringing education to the tribal peoples of Africa.

With multiple twists and turns to the plot that I didn't foresee when I first picked up the book, I was pleasantly surprised. Hamilton's writing is not only beautiful and captivating, but also brings forth a sense of importance. It's a book with awareness and a deep spiritual connection that left me with a 'united' feeling. I was both enamored and amused by the supporting cast, but also left with a feeling of kinship with Fi who has a strong belief in what she does. She's the type of woman who wont go down without a fight, strong but still emotional. She has a certain need to fulfill this mission and even when turned away, she is assertive and determined in her belief.

From the dusky, romantic setting of Africa to the sense of balance in Fi Sweeney's heart, this book was a delight. The awareness of the subject matter is brought into strong focus, yet still maintains a balance of wonderful writing. A true success.

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