This enchanting and gentle tale of family love was sparked by a true story. Many years ago camel caravans carrying salt traders and camel caravans carrying gold would travel through the mountainous and desert regions of Timbuktu, using guides to navigate the terrain. When the author discovered that the most famous of those guides was blind, her imagination started racing.
This is the story of a guide who, after a vicious desert sandstorm, finds a baby in a basket. Bringing her up as his granddaughter, Issa teaches Mariama everything that he knows about the desert. As he slowly goes blind, she becomes his eyes as he continues to guide travellers through a land which he knows and loves. One day, her skill not only saves their lives, but also sets in train a series of events that lead to an unforeseen outcome as Mariama discovers her true identity.
Sympathetically written and elegantly illustrated, this is a beautiful story which captures the essence of a long-gone culture both in its language and its images. It is ideal for a confident reader and would rest well within a topic on Africa, ancient trading customs or family relationships.