Region: North Africa


Author: Satomi Ichikawa (2006).
Description: In My Father’s Shop, we follow the adventure of young Mustafa as he learns about his father’s trade as a rug seller in a southern town in Morocco and about communicating with others, in this case tourists from around the world. After asking for and receiving a rug of his very own, Mustafa goes through the village to show his friends his new acquisition. However, in the company of a local rooster, he meets up with friendly tourists who teach how to “speak rooster” in French, Spanish, English and Japanese. Excited to share his new knowledge with his father, he returns to the rug shop, bringing all of his new friends along with him. The rich colors and patterns of Moroccan carpets mix with vivid drawings of local village life, snapshots of the marketplace and the presentation of a variety of international tourists who make up the customers of the rug shop.  © Africa Access

The Butter Man

Author: Elizabeth Alalou & Ali Alalou (2008); Essakalli, K Julie (illus.)
Description: Nora, a young girl of Moroccan heritage, hears a story about her father’s childhood in a small Berber village in the Atlas Mountains of southern Morocco while her father prepares her family’s usual Saturday dinner, couscous. She hears how her father and his family, and his village, lived through both drought and plenty in their agricultural region. Reflecting the contemporary realities of the Moroccan Diaspora around the world, the book suggests the passage of family history and tradition within a modern household. Elizabeth and Ali Alalou balance the two worlds without relying on sensationalism or an orientalizing of rural Morocco. Includes educational notes on Berber culture in Morocco. © Africa Access

Sudan & South Sudan

What is the what?

Author: Dave Eggers (2007)
Type: Fictionalized biography
Description: The heartrending but remarkable story of one of Sudan’s Lost Boys. It is a somewhat fictionalized version of the life of a real lost boy, Valentino Achak Deng. He eventually made it to the U.S., finding that the U.S. offered its own obstacles and problems for immigrants.





Year of No Rain

Author: Alice Mead (2003)
Type: Young-adult novel
Description: Stephen, a young Dinka, lives in a village in Sudan with his mother and his elder sister, Naomi. His father has vanished, gone off to the war. Stephen’s concerns are those of any older child in such a village: his family, the cows he tends and on which the village depends, and his sister’s impending marriage. The echoes of the distant war build, until suddenly the village is raided by soldiers looking for food. Stephen and two other boys escape to the forest; his sister Naomi hides. The next day, Stephen and the other boys return to find the village destroyed, Stephen’s mother dead, and Naomi vanished.
The book ends on a hopeful but realistic note as the children start to try to re-establish life among the ruins. © Africa Access