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The Shadows of Ghadames by Joelle Stolz
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The Shadows of Ghadames

by Joelle Stolz

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11611148,046 (3.77)1
  1. 00
    The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Shadows is for a younger audience, but it deals with some of the same themes and cultural ideas as the more adult Persepolis.
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In 19th century Ghadames, Libya, Malika is on the verge of young womanhood. The strict Muslim society will circrumscribe her life as a woman, restricting her to her home and the rooftops where the other women of the community congregate. Malika wants to see the world much as her father does on his travels for business. She also wants to learn how to read. She's not ready to leave her freedom as a girl behind quite yet. One night, while Malika's father is out traveling a young man injured in a chase on the streets ends up unconscious outside Malika's house. Society dictates that no man is allowed in a house of women when the husband is gone but because of his injuries, Bilkusa brings him in for first aid. Bilkusa, Meriem and Mailika keep the man hidden in the pantry while he recovers even if he is revolted by women caring for him. Eventually he begins to teach Malika her Arabic letters. Both their worlds open: Malika's as she learns to read and Abdelkarim's as he comes to see women not as the inferior beings he believed them to be.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I enjoyed “The Shadows of Ghadames” by Joelle Stolz because it incorporates descriptive language and pushes many thought provoking topics. Stolz tells the story of Malika a 12-year-old Muslim girl in Libya who is arranged to be married, and wants to learn to read, but due to traditional and religious standards she struggles to find the freedom to live her life and be herself without dishonoring her family, culture, religion, and customs. Stolz uses descriptive language to describe the external conflict that Malika is faced with when she tries to go against tradition. Malik is constantly met with opposition even from her mother who “more than anyone else insists on a strict adherence to traditional practices”. She battles with her hearts desires and the belief that “ [she is] just a girl and [her] place is with the women. The book pushes reader to think about issues such as tradition vs. individuality and finding the balance between the two, and childhood innocence vs. adult responsibility. ( )
  Mchapp1 | Mar 23, 2015 |
Personal Response: After reading this book, I have become interested in Libya and Ghadames. Stolz's description of the city of Ghadames are incredible: the palm grove, secret beams in passages, rooftop markets, etc. The central character, Malika, is a thoughful, intelligent girl who has begun to question many aspects of her life such as religion, gender norms, and marriage customs.
Curricular Connection: This book would be an excellent choice for a fourth or fifth grade classroom. The text could be read aloud by the students. After reading the book, students could use recycled objects to build model cities of Ghadames. Items such as cardboard, plastic bottles, and old fabric could be used to construct the houses and rooftops.Students could share their structures with the class and discuss where instances of the story took place in their models. ( )
  NataliaLucia | Jun 25, 2010 |
When I started this book, I thought it seemed very promising because the author began by describing in vivid detail the fascinating setting of her book - 1800's Libya. Joelle Stolz certainly has a way with words and a talent for making an exotic setting come to life.
However, her talent stops there. Stolz may have a way with words, but she definitely does not have a way with plots, characters, or writing about things readers just may actually be interested in.
The characters are silly and badly written, the author introduces possible things the book could be about - yet then seemingly abandons the ideas - and the plot is nonexistent.
I can't even really say for sure what this book is about... The main character is a young girl coming of age in 1800's Libya, and that is pretty much all we can be certain of.
This book is not worth reading. ( )
  joririchardson | Jan 25, 2010 |
This is the coming-of-age story of rebellious 11-year-old Malika, who questions the restrictions young women face as they grow up in 19th-century Libya. As the story unfolds, Malika learns about the strength of women, who are secluded from the men’s world but have a powerful community of their own. The author knits the sights and sounds of life in Ghadames into the story and creates a cast of characters that each display strengths and weaknesses. The story is told with rich, gripping details, providing not only a glimpse into 19th-century Libya but also an exploration of universal truths about what it means to be human. This short book is an excellent tool for promoting international understanding and communication.
  SPutman | Nov 12, 2008 |
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Book description
IN THE LIBYAN CITY of Ghadames, Malika watches her merchant father depart on one of his caravan expeditions. She too yearns to travel to distant cities, and longs to learn to read like her younger brother. But nearly 12 years old, and soon to be of marriagable age, Malika knows that—like all Muslim women—she must be content with a more secluded, more limited life. Then one night a stranger enters her home . . . someone who disrupts the traditional order of things—and who affects Malika in unexpected ways.

Translated by Cathrine Temerson
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440419492, Paperback)

“Stolz invigorates her tale with elegant prose and a deft portrayal of a girl verging on adolescence. The vivid backdrop is intoxicating, but the story’s universal concerns will touch readers most.”
Booklist, Starred

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

At the end of the nineteenth century in Libya, eleven-year-old Malika simultaneously enjoys and feels constricted by the narrow world of women, but an injured stranger enters her home and disrupts the traditional order of things.

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