We’re veering west this week, exploring Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Islamic cultures weave amongst all these areas somewhat uniting them, so although many of the titles in my post about Islam in children’s literature aren’t country-specific, most of them would work to supplement this leg of the tour.
Central Asia was by far the least represented region as I looked for children’s literature. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan — just a void in the ol’ card catalog. Middle Eastern titles are predominantly about recent wars. I’ve Mused about the significance of all this recently. The link for that is at the bottom of the blog along with links to earlier stops on our tour.
We’ll start at our easternmost point and move south and west today.
Caravan, written by Lawrence McKay, Jr., illustrated by Darryl Ligasan
published in 1995 by Lee & Low Books
Jura lives in the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia. He’s a young Kirghiz boy, the son of a caravaneer who treks over some of the most rugged mountains in the world, camels laden with felts and furs, to trade in the city for food. This year Jura is 10 and finally old enough to ride in the caravan.
See the craggy mountains, experience the frozen altitudes and snug warmth of a fire-lit cave, enter the city with its grand mosques and bustling bazaar, right along with him. This is such an intriguing window onto a rich culture. Handsome illustrations capture the grandeur of Jura’s homeland and the warmth of his relationship with his father. Ages 3 and up.
I See the Sun in Afghanistan, written by Dedie King, illustrated by Judith Inglese
published in 2011 by Satya House Publications
This is part of the I See the Sun series from Satya House that follows one child through her day in various cultures. It’s a very well done introduction to ordinary Afghani life for ages 4 and up.