Product Code: 93152
Binding Information: Paperback
Ages: 10 - 14
Availability: In stock
War has broken out in the Middle East and all foreigners are fleeing. Instead of escaping with his neighbors, Adam sneaks off to save his dog, which has been left behind. Lost in the desert, Adam meets Walid, an abused camel boy who is on the run. Together they struggle to survive the elements and elude the revengeful master from whom Walid has fled. Cultural and language barriers are wide, but with ingenuity and determination the two boys bridge their differences, helping each other to survive and learn what true friendship is.
Because I'd always wanted to be a writer, I decided that when I left school I needed to go out into the world and collect experiences, so that when I had enough I could write about them.
I traveled around Australia and then around the world. The experiences I collected were many and varied; such as learning how to cook when I worked with shearers in the outback; learning how to fly when my husband and I ferried airplanes across to Canada and back; learning to teach when I taught English as a foreign language to Arab girls. Along the way I learnt about life.
I got my chance to write while living in Dubai when I started working for a children's magazine. All my different experiences became useful. I had six columns to write—covering astronomy, astrology, science and technology, and gardening, as well as a weekly bedtime story and an advice column. There I also met an interesting old lady from Iran and helped her write her autobiography, which was later published.
My time in Dubai taught me more than how to write, though. I learnt that when people from different cultures meet, they often don't trust or respect each other, and there can be many misunderstandings that can lead to war. But after having lived and made friends with people from other nationalities, I know that no culture is better than another; we just do things differently.
I wrote the first draft of Camel Rider while living in Dubai. We left there in March 2001 and now we live in magical "Rowan House," which overlooks the Sunshine Coast of Queensland and where I run a writers' retreat and guesthouse.
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Library Media Connection, starred review - January 1, 2008How do two 13-year-old boys survive in an Arabian desert with almost no water or food and no common language? With adventure, pluck, and lots of high-fives! Both boys are expatriates living in the fictional Arab city of Abudai. Adam is from Australia; Emir came from Bangladesh. Emir's mother trusts two Arabs who promise to provide schooling for him, but instead they treat him cruelly and force him to ride camels in races. After the city is bombed, Adam tries to return to Abudai via the desert. Emir was dumped in the desert because he caused the death of a camel. The boys find each other and soon learn to communicate and survive the scorching heat. Over the three-day adventure they are captured by the two Arabs who want to cash in on the ransom Adam's parents have advertised. Once back in the city, the boys make their final excape and are reunited with their families. This new author vividly portrays life as an expatriate in an Arab country, from the privileged side and the immigrant side. This is a powerful story of survival and resourcefulness while discovering a friendship that transcends international boundaries. Highly Recommended.
Language Arts - January 1, 2008This story, told in the alternating voices of the two protagonists, is about a clash of cultures and beliefs and what happens when the two must depend on each other to escape a dire situation. The two boys--Adam and Walid--know nothing of the other boy's culture and, most significantly for the plot, the other's language. Adam is a privileged Australian ex-pat living comfortably in Abudai, a large Middle Eastern city. He wants nothing more than to play or go surfing with his mates who also live in his multi-national ex-pat community. Adam has learned very little Arabic or anything else about the native people or the place in which he has lived for almost six years. He holds many of the deep-seated stereotypes about Arabs and Islam that he acquired from the adults in his community. Walid is an ex-pat from Bangladesh. He has had none of the privileges afforded Adam. He works as a camel boy for two cruel men, Old Goat and Breath of Dog, in order to support his mother. When one of the camels escapes after Walid has loosened its hobble, Walid is beaten seneseless, bound with rope, and then abandoned in a small cave in the desert. When a rogue leader in a neighboring country attacks Abudai, Adam has to evacuate the compound with his neighbors. In a rash decision, Adam decides to run away from his neighbors to return home to save his dog. He realizes his mistake almost immediately when the hot desert sun becomes unbearable. He stumbles along until he finds Walid, still bound and groggy from the beating he received from his masters. Neither boy can speak the other's language, but to survive, they must learn to get along, be resourceful, and solve the many problems that confront them as they try to get back to Abudai. Although the last few chapters are predictable and the ending cliched, the tale is engrossing. First-time novelist Prue Mason has written a story that shows how, with ingenuity and a little luck, children can bridge the cultural divides that adults needlessly create. DLT
Growing Up in Santa Cruz - April 15, 2008This extraordinary tale of endurance and survival beautifully illustrates how a true friendship can develop in a seemingly impossible situation. Once into this novel, the reader won't be able to set it down until it's finished.
Book Links - January 1, 2009Australian Adam and Bangladeshi Walid find themselves stranded in the desert near the fictional city of Abudai and must join forces to survive without water, food, or a common language. Told from both boys' points of view, Mason's story vividly portrays the enormous lifestyle differences between rich and poor in the Middle East.
Journey of a Bookseller - August 1, 2010
If you have no choice except to be a slave, would you want to be a camel rider? Sounds scary to me, but Walid enjoys camels and has a special relationship with one in particular.
This book was published by Charlesbridge, and is a trade paperback that is currently available in your local bookstore.
Adam comes from a well-to-family who lives in a compound in the Middle East. They are from Australia, but his father is flying for the Abudai Airlines, so they have moved. He has managed to hide his passport in his father's luggage so he can't return to Australia with his mother. His mother is very angry and leaves him home alone one day, with the servant. His father will be back the next day.
But Adam has an adventure planned. A last tour of the desert before he returns home. Not a bad plan, but plans change...
When the nearby city is bombed, he has to evacuate the city with neighbors, leaving his dog behind. He makes up his mind he will escape and go back after Tara, his dog.
In the meantime, Walid's favorite camel gets spooked and breaks her leg. His master loses not only the camel, but the baby she was carrying. He wants to kill Walid, but that would be too fast of a death for the boy. So he ties up his hands and legs and dumps him a cave in the desert to starve and die of dehydration.
The lives of these two boys converge by accident. Each one has opinions of the other's race and religious beliefs, and neither one has any respect for the other. Nor can they communicate by language, neither one understands the other.
Ms. Mason does an excellent job of depicting how the two begin trying to communicate, how each learns a few words of the opposite language, how they learn what skills each has (or doesn't) and how they eventually begin to trust each other again.
They have many more adventures before the story ends. Life is hard, people are trying to kill them, and they have no food or water. But they keep trying to move back to the compound and the trials and tribulations are authentic.
I enjoyed the action and learned some things about the Middle East. I'd recommend this book for young adults age 12+. The world is a big place, visit a piece of it by reading this book.
Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book - December 29, 2010Adam is from Australia, but he’s lived the most important years of his life in Abudai, a small country in the Middle East. Like his friends, Adam and his family have their home in a compound that allows them to maintain a comfortable environment without significant exposure to the local culture.
Walid came to Abudai from Bangladesh. That isn’t his real name, though; ‘Walid’ simply means ‘boy,’ and it is only what he is called by Old Goat, the cruel master who bought the boy and keeps him enslaved.
The two boys have nothing in common and would never have met if Abudai hadn’t been attacked by enemy planes. With the city in ruins, Adam suddenly finds himself stranded in the desert with Walid. The boys have no common language, but they understand that working together is the only way to survive the dangerous landscape and escape the clutches of Old Goat and his gang. It isn’t just language that separates the boys, either; Adam and Walid don’t understand or trust each other’s strange traditions.
Prue Mason draws on her experience as a foreigner in the Middle East to weave an exciting tale of adventure in Camel Rider. “I learnt that when people from different cultures meet, they often don’t trust or respect each other,” she writes in a note to readers. “I know that no culture is better than another; we just do things differently.”
Her understanding of the differences in tradition is expressed frequently through Adam and Walid’s approach to even the basics of survival. For example, when they find a goat, Adam assumes they’ll drink the milk, but Walid believes that “milk is food for babies” and that eating the goat is their only choice.
Different cultural assumptions like that one create most of the conflict in Camel Rider. Writing from the two different points of view, Mason lets readers into the minds of the boys so that we can immediately understand why each is baffled by the other. What’s more, readers learn along with Walid and Adam that there is nothing inherently threatening about differences.
While Camel Rider certainly is a book about understanding and cultural communication, the boys’ adventures in the desert make it a page-turner. It’s the sort of book that educates subtly while taking readers for an exhilarating ride through harsh country and uncertain circumstances. That, plus Prue Mason’s sly humor and fair stance, makes Camel Rider a book that satisfies on every level.