Mysterious Traveler by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, illustrated by P.J. Lynch
No one knows the Sahara Desert like Issa. He is a famous guide along the dangerous paths the gold and salt caravans take to their far destinations. Everyone knows to ask for his help. But one day five riders with six camels come bounding through the village with a desert storm quick on their heels. They do not stop to ask for Izza's help. They gallop on, with the sixth camel carrying a basket with its tiny burden. In Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham’s The Mysterious Traveler, Issa watches them ride out of sight not knowing that the scrap of ribbon they leave behind will change his future.
Mysterious Traveler, with its illustrations mainly of sand and gray and gold, is an intriguing book for readers who enjoy learning about faraway lands. But it is also a story that rests on the importance of family--that which we are born into and that which we make through love and commitment.