Rich and evocative prose that skillfully exposes the stark realities of poverty and charity in today's Africa. Highly recommended for any fiction collection.
– Library Journal, STARRED
A poignant, ennobling, and buoyant tale of risks and rewards, surrender and sacrifice.
– Booklist, STARRED
Takes us right into a small village and the lives of its inhabitants. An excellent book club selection.
– Book Sense choice by Independent Booksellers
Captivating third novel. . . Hamilton weaves memorable characters and elemental emotions in artful prose with the lofty theme of Western-imposed "education" versus a village's perceived perils of exposure to the developed world.
– Publishers Weekly
Vibrates with the life and landscape of Africa . . . peopled with characters readers can't help but care about deeply.
Hamilton's portrayal of nomadic culture is lovingly and colorfully told. It's a painterly glimpse into a world that few Westerners will ever see.
– USA Today
Hamilton makes us see how much is really at stake in a poverty-stricken place where every possession carries the weight of significance. A larger conflict wouldn't do justice to the notion of honor as lived by these people; it extends all the way down to the smallest stack of books.
– New York Times
This captivating story about a determined chick with a big heart will touch you deeply.
– Cosmo Magazine
Hamilton's writing is so vivid that you'll feel the Kenyan heat emanting from the pages, you'll feel the dust on your arms . . . This is one of those books that you'll want to pass on to your friends immediately.
– Albany Democrat Herald
Quite possibly, this is one of those books you will remember the rest of your life.
– Oshkosh Public Library, WI
Masha Hamilton's magical new novel transported me across the globe, teaching me about faith, ambition, and the surprise of love. Fi is a character to fall for and cheer for. Her interactions with the people of Mididima are spellbinding and broke my heart.
– Amanda Eyre Ward
I've always known that books can change lives. Masha Hamilton has opened my eyes to how books can also change entire communities, and not always in the ways one might expect. The Camel Bookmobile is a brave and astonishing novel; it transported me to a world I hadn't known, and my life is all the richer for it.
– Gayle Brandeis
In this vivid, absorbing novel Masha Hamilton transports her readers, even more surely than the camels do books, to the village of Mididima and the struggle between traditional values and western education. Richly peopled, full of conflicts and surprises, The Camel Bookmobile made me think and feel in all the best ways. My only regret was that the book had to end.
– Margot Livesey
Hamilton captures the spirit and struggle of Africa in The Camel Bookmobile. She lets the heart and soul of the African people shine through as they face the changing world and the ideas of those who think they know best. I highly recommend this book!
– SARA DIANE (COLORADO SPRINGS, CO)
The story really rang true to me. Some of the characters stayed with me, and I find myself hoping these camels will continue to deliver books and hope to these remote, wanting villages.
– SUSAN (ATLANTA, GA)
Masha Hamilton's character development of Fiona, Neema, Kanika, Scar Boy and all the other characters helped to know them, share their fears and joys. I as a child wanted to lick books I really enjoyed and reading that someone else felt the same made me feel so excited. The story could have been anywhere, but I feel like I've seen Mididima, felt the heat of the day, heard the drums and felt thirsty. The book was enjoyable and would be a good choice for middle schoolers to adults. As a book club choice, the irony of books that depict scenes never seen by the Kenyans, the strength of women in society and the role of men, the plight of the disabled, scarce water supplies could be explored thoroughly. I loved this book and would highly recommend this book to a friend.
– SHELLEY (TROY, MI)
I truly enjoyed this touching and encouraging story. Hamilton has generated a unique story and will touch hearts through it. I am encouraged now to believe that I can have an impact on someone or on some place.
– EMILY (SEWANEE, TN)
I have just finished reading The Camel Bookmobile and was very impressed with Masha Hamilton's writing. I have never been to Africa but I felt like I was transported to Mididima. The question posed by Mr. Abasi is a good way to sum up the book: do they want to be part of the larger world and who should be teaching whom? I think this would be a perfect book for any book club. Thank you for introducing me to a wonderful author.
– YUKA (SAMMAMISH, WA)
Readers' Reviews From BookReporter.com As a school librarian, I am dealing constantly with the problem of books not being returned, but this situation brings about a whole new perspective on that occupational problem. The dilemma of being taught the ways of the Western world vs. keeping village traditions brought a whole perspective to the story and to my understanding of life in this part of the world. Fi Sweeney left her comfortable life to make a difference to the world, but found that the love of village traditions and life was more important to the people of Mididima than she could ever have known, which provided a very surprising end to the story.
– Carroll (Midlothian, VA)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton. It was a deceptively simple and yet very moving story with many layers and memorable characters. The conflicts between tradition and change brought on by the introduction of the books felt very real, and I became emotionally connected to many of the characters, especially Kanika and Matani. I loved Ms. Hamilton's language and her ability to write from the African perspective of myth and wisdom and family boundaries. Thank you for the opportunity to read this new book and I will wholeheartedly recommend it to my friends and book group.
– Ellen (Wauwatosa, WI)
I've recommended it to several friends who I think will spread the word to their friends. I need to find the discussion questions, as they help our groups. I'd like to see a follow-up book, or several, about both the Bookmobile's travels and the characters in this story. What happened to the villagers?
– Meg (Racine, WI)
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I have recommended it to friends. Masha Hamilton captured the emotions of Fi as she answers her heart's desire for adventure and a taste of difference in her life before she settles for a life being pushed on her. Fi is able to find a way to combine this adventure with her love for books. As the book shows us how a different culture can view books and the changes in ideas they bring with suspicion, it also reminds us that we often take the ability to read and the abundance of books for granted. It left me wanting to know more about what happened to Fi, Kanika, and Taban (Scar Boy).
– Phyllis (Louisville, MS)
I really enjoyed the story that The Camel Bookmobile was conveying and the obstacles that the real project must face. I was slightly disappointed that a number of key characters disappeared (which I'm sure was to be expected) as the tribe relocated, because I so wanted to see how things went for them. Overall, The Camel Bookmobile raises awareness of a real problem that many in Africa face as they struggle with maintaining traditions, as well as trying to progress with an ever-changing climate. One of the things that I was most amused and touched by was Mr. Abasi's love/hate relationship with Siti, the camel, as he treated and spoke to her as though she were the embodiment of his mother.
– Yvonne (El Sobrante, CA)