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Groundwood Books

The Camel in the Sun

Written by Griffin Ondaatje • Illustrated by Linda Wolfsgruber

For students in grades - K | Published September 30, 2013 | ISBN 9781554983810
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Middle East

Cover of The Camel in the Sun

Regular price $17.95 CAD

40 pages | 10.5 in × 7.0625 in
Print Format

About this book

The Camel in the Sun

Griffin Ondaatje • Linda Wolfsgruber

Inspired by a retelling of a traditional Muslim hadith, or account of the words or actions of the Prophet, which the author first heard in Sri Lanka, this is the story of a camel whose cruel owner only realizes what suffering he has caused when the Prophet appears and shows love to the animal.

The camel has worked its entire life for a man called Halim, carrying bundles of spices, dates, incense, silver and wool on long journeys across the desert, east of the Red Sea. It often has to climb steep dunes, run when it is exhausted, and wait in the hot sun while Halim sits in the shade talking to the other merchants. One day the camel is overwhelmed by sadness and finds itself in tears. But still Halim shows no sympathy.

When they arrive in the beautiful garden-filled city of Medina where the Prophet lives, the merchant refreshes himself with food and drink and then naps on a pillow of sand, once again leaving the tired camel to stand alone in the burning sun. But when the Prophet sees the camel's plight, everything changes. Halim finally empathizes with the camel's pain and suffering.

The Camel in the Sun was inspired by a Muslim story told to the author when he was in Sri Lanka. That story was a retelling of a hadith, and this book was respectfully inspired by both the retelling and a translation of the hadith itself. It is an unforgettable story about empathy. It is beautifully, respectfully and sensitively illustrated by Linda Wolfsgruber, whose images and earthy palette reflect her time spent in the Middle East.

About the Creators

Griffin Ondaatje

Griffin Ondaatje is the author of The Camel in the Sun, illustrated by Linda Wolfsgruber, which was selected for the Austria Children’s Book Prize, shortlisted for the Middle East Book Award, and has been translated into German and Korean. He is also the editor of The Monkey King and Other Stories, a collection of South Asian stories, folktales and legends, and the director of Complete Unknown, a documentary film about Bob Dylan. He has three children and lives with his family in Toronto.

Linda Wolfsgruber

Linda Wolfsgruber is a world-renowned artist who has exhibited her work throughout Europe and in the United States and Japan. She has won many awards, including the Austrian Children's and Juvenile Book Award for Illustration (four times) and the Golden Apple of the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava, and she has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her striking illustrations appear in many books, including Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer, Stories from the Life of Jesus, Brunhilda and the Ring and A daisy is a daisy is a daisy. She lives in Vienna.

Awards and Praise

"Ondaatje narrates with graceful lyricism...A tender story, eloquently rendered." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

  • Commended Austria Children's Book Prize, 2015
  • Commended Middle East Book Award, 2014
  • Commended Leserstimmen Prize, 2015
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