Very comforting - this is a story which will be in much demand at bedtime. ( INIS)
Five year old children roped into this dangerous way of life for real often suffer bad injuries. Azad is luckier than this and his story, while ending on a happy note, also gives young readers a glimpse of a sort of life very different from their own. Erika Pal's pictures of Azad's desert life are vivd and memorable. ( Carousel)
A commendable title aiming to broaden children's understanding of the world and the varied ways in which people across the world experience life. It offers opportunities for discussion and comparison, and for considering real life situations beyond our own lives. ( Books for Keeps)
An eye-opening story from the other side of the world… Most striking in the book, which closes with a note about this popular sport in the Gulf states of the Middle East, are Pal's fluid illustrations, sprawling spreads with striking line. ( Seven Impossible Things)
This may be a story in which winning is certainly not everything, but Erika Pal's perfectly tuned stoary about Azad and his camel is itself a winner. ( www.papertigers.org)
In a big Arabian city, an orphan boy is forced to work as a camel jockey - a dangerous job he doesn't like. But a new friendship and a magical escape into the desert are about to change his life...
Camel racing is a popular sport in the Gulf states. Child jockeys are used to ride the camels and come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Mauritania and Eritrea. Often poor families are persuaded to sell sons as young as five years old, who are taken away to be trained and often badly treated. Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have banned the use of child jockeys and are returning the children to their families so that they can live a normal life. Robots are now being used in place of jockeys in the United Arab Emirates, but in some Middle Eastern countries small children are still being forced to race camels.
“The pictures are beautiful - really evocative.”
Elizabeth Laird, prize-winning author of Crusade, The Garbage King and Lost Riders (also about a camel jockey)
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