review of The Youngest Cameleer posted on GoodReads.
5 November, 2012 | By Goldie Alexander
Unexpected Review from GOOD READS by Jill Smith that just turned up, Thank you Jill for the following.
“Ahmed Ackbar is 13, through his diary letters to family back home; we journey with him in Australia with his Uncle Kamran and two fellow Afghan cameleers. He is the youngest cameleer joining an English explorer’s journey across a continent. The country he crosses is so unlike his Afghan homeland, yet shares a desert that camels are best equipped to cross.
Although arriving in Australia speaking Pashto his native language and very little English. He quickly learns to increase his meager knowledge of English, so helping his cameleers cope with the strain of dealing with infidels. Ahmed works hard and proves to be a valuable member of the expedition as an interpreter.
The culture is a shock, as people he comes to treat as friends, do things that are not acceptable to his religion. They are equally tolerated by some of the party, thought of as odd by others, because they stop for prayers, and are despised by another.
At one point when they reach an isolated station to rest, Ahmed befriends the three children living there. He finds himself playing competitive games with the boy and allowing the girls to ride his camel. Just being alone with a female is not something he wants his Uncle to discover as it is taboo.
The book is a wonderful and accurate, drawn upon history, account of the W C Gosse exploration, tracing the journey along the inland telegraph route to Alice Springs and the discovery of Ayers Rock now known as Uluru. The naming of the landmarks along the way is also interesting, Goss contributed a great deal to Australia’s history.
The journey is a self discovery and coming of age event for Ahmed, as he is also wanting to learn how his beloved father recently died. To him, it is a mystery, and his Uncle Kamran holds the answer. He must be man enough to ask the questions burning in his mind.
Goldie has produced a book that is sure to be a school staple, as it invites young readers to question their outlook on the world and to investigate our own past. Exploration of Australia would not have been as successful without the assistance of cameleers.”
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