Deep in the Sahara
by Kelly Cunnane & Hoda Hadadi
Schwartz & Wade, 2013. Unpaged. Picture Book
Deep in the Sahara, Lalla wants a malafa, a colorful, flowing robe, so she can be beautiful like her mother, mysterious like her sister, or clothed in the robes of ancient royalty like her grandmother. Each tells her that the malafa means much more than being beautiful or mysterious, and tells her she is too young. But when she tells her mother she wants a malafa so she can pray, her mother reconsiders. Lalla wears her blue malafa, "as blue as the Sahara sky, as blue as the ink in the Koran, as blue as a stranger's eye" with her mother to evening prayers, knowing now that a malafa is for faith. A lovely story with beautiful, evocative illustrations, Deep in the Sahara is a perfect introduction to the beauty of the Middle Eastern landscape and of Islam.