Masha Hamilton, is a journalist and the organizer of The Camel Book Drive, a real-life campaign to get books to Kenya’s mobile library. Though the subject of Hamilton’s novel The Camel Bookmobile, the camel-borne library actually exists. It operates from Garissa in Kenya’s isolated Northeastern Province near the unstable border with Somalia. With the publication of her novel, Hamilton decided to organize the Camel Book Drive, creating an easy process for booklovers to send their books to the real camel bookmobile in Northern Kenya.
Best-selling authors, agents, librarians, publishers, booksellers, businesses and readers have joined the drive both donating to the cause and helping to spread the word. More than 195 writers have signed up to participate in the Camel Book Drive including Michael Chabon, Isabel Allende, Maeve Binchy, Jeanette Winterson, Amy Tan, Neil Gaiman and Susan Cheever.
The camel bookmobile brings books to semi-nomadic people in Northeastern Kenya who live with the most minimal of possessions, suffering from chronic poverty and periodic drought. I visited the region during a period of drought and made several runs through the African bush with the bookmobile,” says Hamilton. “I cannot describe how moving it was to see the people, particularly children, crowding around as the traveling librarians set up a straw mat under an acacia tree and spread out the books. The excitement is palpable.To learn how you can donate to the drive visit camelbookdrive.wordpress.com and www.mashahamilton.com.
(From Richard Hopkins)
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