Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I am so excited that my friend Masha Hamilton's gorgeous and amazing novel, The Camel Bookmobile, is going to be released next month. I have been raving about the book ever since I read the galleys last fall; it is utterly transporting. Life-changing, even.

Masha, who is amazing herself, is using her platform as a novelist in such a beautiful way--she was created a Camel Book Drive to support the real camel book mobile, which operates from Garissa in Kenya’s isolated Northeastern Province near the unstable border with Somalia. Masha writes:
Initially launched with three camels on Oct. 14, 1996, the library now uses 12 camels traveling to four settlements per day, four days per week. The camels bring books to a semi-nomadic people who live with drought, famine and chonic poverty. The books are spread out on grass mats beneath an acacia tree, and the library patrons, often barefoot, sometimes joined by goats or donkeys, gather with great excitement to choose their books until the next visit. I visited the region and walked the bush with the camel library, and you can see pictures and a short video. But of course, the bush is hard on books and the traveling library badly needs more.
More than 120 authors have signed up to donate boxes of books. I am delighted to be part of that group. There are many ways to get involved--visit the book drive link above for more information.

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