Frances Lincoln Ltd, Hardcover, 9781845079826, 40pp.
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
In a big Arabian city, an orphan boy is forced to work as a camel jockey - a dangerous job he doesn't like. But a new friendship and a magical escape into the desert are about to change his life... Camel racing is a popular sport in the Gulf states. Child jockeys are used to ride the camels and come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Mauritania and Eritrea. Often poor families are persuaded to sell sons as young as five years old, who are taken away to be trained and often badly treated. Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have banned the use of child jockeys and are returning the children to their families so that they can live a normal life. Robots are now being used in place of jockeys in the United Arab Emirates, but in some Middle Eastern countries small children are still being forced to race camels. "The pictures are beautiful - really evocative." Elizabeth Laird, prize-winning author of Crusade, The Garbage King and Lost Riders (also about a camel jockey)