In a Cloud of Dust

illus. by Brian Deines. 32p. Pajama Pr. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781927485620.
K-Gr 3—Living in a Tanzanian village means lots of walking. Each day, young Anna makes the long trek to and from her schoolhouse from her home. So when a truck shows up from the bicycle library, it means a great relief for the students. Except they run out before Anna gets one. Disappointed but excited for her classmates, she receives a gift of kindness in the response of her peers. In a Cloud of Dust highlights the daily challenges faced by many in rural villages throughout Tanzania. An author's note at the end highlights more information about bicycle libraries and their impact in places like Africa. Deines's illustrations, done with oil paint on canvas, convey the look and feel of a dust-coated village. They also feel muted and don't draw attention to the details or the surroundings. Likewise, the message of the book feels blurred between the impact of bicycles on rural communities and a simple act of kindness between children.
VERDICT Additional purchase for educators wanting to highlight compassion and awareness of different social structures.

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