The Shadows of Ghadames

by Joelle Stolz

Eleven-year-old Malika lives in Ghadames, Libya, at the end of the 19 th ... read more

Eleven-year-old Malika lives in Ghadames, Libya, at the end of the 19 th century. As a Muslim girl just entering puberty, she understands that she will soon have to accept some limitations in her day to day life. She will no longer be able to run outside to greet her merchant father, for example, when he returns from one of his journeys. Instead, she must stay with the other women of her walled city who never travel further that the interconnected rooftops to which they are confined. But life among the women has its own pleasures, Malika begins to discover. She learns about some of the women’s rituals from her mother and her father’s second wife, Bilkisu, an independent free spirit who serves as a role-model for Malika. Bilkisu, in fact, lets Malika in on a secret: she is hiding a stranger, an injured man whom Bilkisu and Malika’s mother are nursing back to health, and he has agreed to teach Malika to read. French author Joëlle

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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