Deep in the Sahara is set in Mauritania and shows daily life of a West African Muslim culture in a very positive way. A glossary in the back explains Mauritanian words, such as malafa, used throughout the book. A little girl named Lalla wants to wear the malafa just like her mother, older sister, and the other women she sees. And when Lalla’s mother sees that she understands all that the malafa means, not only beauty, mystery, tradition, and belonging, but also faith, she slips a new blue malafa over her head and leads her to prayer. With illustrations by Hoda Hadadi that are vibrant, and words by Kelly Cunnane that are poetic, this book would be an excellent selection for families looking to cultivate cross-cultural respect and understanding, or for those looking for a book that celebrates their own culture. This would also be an excellent selection for a multicultural storytime. Age Range: 4-8 years.
Beautiful, giving a much-needed voice to Muslim culture in children's picture books. Lalla admires the malafa for its beauty, mystery, and tradition, but her mother waits for Lalla to discover the true meaning of the malafa - faith - before giving Lalla one of her own. I loved this book for its rich vocabulary, lovely illustrations, and open-hearted diversity, all of which lend themselves to sharing a positive message about Islam with young children. Highly recommended!
Rachel_Em thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 4 and 8
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