We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.
Last week, I shared the picturebook biography (PBB) of an eminent Persian scholar. This time, I am happy to feature a PBB of a world traveler from Morocco.
The Amazing Travels of Ibn Battuta
Written by: Fatima Sharafeddine Pictures by: Intelaq Mohammed Ali
Published by: Groundwood Books House of Anansi Press, 2010.
ISBN: 1554984807 (ISBN13: 9781554984800)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
A week ago, it was all about Ibn Sina’s life for our Nonfiction Wednesday post. This time around, I am featuring the wondrous travels of Ibn Battuta from Morocco, who had gone on to write manuscripts about his travels, famously referred to as the Rihla (Journey) of Ibn Battuta.
He left home when he was 21 years old, on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city. While he became frequently sick during his journey, he persevered, as he “went through Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria.” Little did he know that it would be the beginning of a 29-year travel that would lead him throughout the Islamic world, Europe, Africa, and China. Going from one place to another during the 14th century is not only hazardous, it also took a great deal of time as he went by caravan or by sea. He also traveled astride a donkey and walked through deserts – as his journey entailed fighting off hyenas and the constant fear of pirates hanging over him, as he went through sea voyages.
What truly surprised me, though, was how he would introduce himself to the governors and religious leaders of each city he visited. He was welcomed warmly and would even be given food and money as he went onto his next journey. It seems like a world so different from the one we have at the moment, with determinedly-closed borders, the constant paranoia and fear of the foreign, the different, the outsider.
To say that Ibn Battuta was an intrepid explorer would not be doing him justice. I admit to liking this more than Ibn Sina, and I do look forward to reading more of Fatima’s picture book biographies coming from the Arabic world.