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  • Written by Joelle Stolz
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  • The Shadows of Ghadames
  • Written by Joelle Stolz
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Written by Joelle StolzAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joelle Stolz


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On Sale: April 02, 2009
Pages: 128 | ISBN: 978-0-307-49078-0
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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This story about a Muslim girl bound by traditional Islamic customs but who yearns for something more explores women’s rights, freedom, religion, and identity.
In the Libyan city of Ghadames, Malika watches her merchant father depart on one of his caravan expeditions. She too yearns to travel to distant cities, and longs to learn to read like her younger brother. But nearly 12 years old, and soon to be of marriagable age, Malika knows that—like all Muslim women—she must be content with a more secluded, more limited life. Then one night a stranger enters her home . . . someone who disrupts the traditional order of things—and who affects Malika in unexpected ways.

“I was enchanted by this story of a brave Berber girl who dares to dream and its filigree of details about harem life, ancient trade routes, goddesses and healers. The real beauty of The Shadows of Ghadames is that it transcends the exotic to explore universal truths about the condition of being human.”—Suzanne Fisher Staples, author of the Newbery Honor Book Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

“Stolz invigorates her tale with elegant prose and a deft portrayal of a girl verging on adolescence. The vivid backdrop is intoxicating, but the story’s universal concerns will touch readers most.”—Booklist, Starred

Joelle Stolz

About Joelle Stolz

Joelle Stolz - The Shadows of Ghadames
Joëlle Stolz is a French journalist based in Vienna, where she reports for Le Monde and Radio France Internationale. The Shadows of Ghadames is her first children’s novel.

From the Hardcover edition.


WINNER 2005 Mildred L. Batchelder Award Winner
WINNER 2005 ALA Notable Children's Book
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


Embracing One’s Cultures: A Guide

Grades 3 up

All-of-a-Kind Family
by Sydney Taylor
Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee
Fresh Girl by Jaïra Placide
The Shadows of Ghadames by Joëlle Stolz
Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres
Half and Half by Lensey Namioka
Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami
See You Down the Road by Kim Ablon Whitney

Visualize the varied cultures in American society today: descendents of Vietnamese refugees; foreign and native-born children of Latin American parents seeking to break the bonds of poverty; Muslim youth from devout Middle Eastern families; descendents of early 1900s immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and other European countries; sons and daughters of research scientists, scholars, and engineers from all over the globe. Every race, nationality, and religion contributes to the photograph of “Our American Family.” But instead of embracing the richness of America’s unique crossroads of cultures, schools often become a battleground where students from diverse backgrounds fight to belong. Prejudice stemming from negative stereotypes and ignorance leads to students being harassed and teased about the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and the way they speak, which robs those targeted of the pride they should be able to express in their own ethnicity. The books in this educators guide include literature that encompasses many of the cultures students may encounter in their school, and can help students define and embrace their own culture as well as the cultures of others. These books focus on themes of acceptance, cultural pride, and a sense of heritage that must be fostered in all of our students if our schools, and ultimately our society, can hope to be productive, successful, and united.


At the end of the nineteenth century, women in Libya live a cloistered life in their homes and on the rooftops where they are not allowed to talk to men. As Malika approaches that stage of her life, a stranger comes to her home and challenges her views toward the traditional way of life.



Malika has been taught her place in the society in which she lives, but she does not seem satisfied with her lot in life. She longs to travel with her father and to have an education like her brother. What are her feelings toward her culture? How does she come to terms with her desires and the traditions of her people?

2. Abdelkarim tells Malika, “I learned several things while I was in hiding on your rooftop. For example, that the world of women is not as stupid as I thought” (p. 102) What did he observe and hear that led him to this conclusion?

3. Malika’s father is more open-minded than most men in his culture. What are some of the traditions he is willing to relinquish? Why?


Taking It Global
Discusses cultural diversity in America.

American Civil Liberties Union: Immigrant Rights
The official Web page.

The American Immigrants Home Page
Helpful information for and about immigrants.

Federation for American Immigration Reform
Immigrant reform movement and its affect on public schools.

Cultural Diversity–a CCSD research program
Lifestyle patterns of immigrant youth.


Prepared by Susan Geye, Library Media Specialist, Crowley Ninth Grade Campus, Crowley, Texas.

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