The Wooden Camel

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 2   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Etabo dreams of being a camel racer. One day he might even beat his older brother when they race. But with the price of water rising, Etabo’s father must sell the camels, and his siblings must find work. What will Etabo do now? From acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Italian illustrator Manuela Adreani, this story of love and hope centers on the inspiring Turkana people of northwest Kenya. Told with gentleness and humor, it is a universal story about keeping one’s dreams alive.

Format Your Price
Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 2
Category Diversity, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2017
Publisher Lantana Publishing
Imprint Lantana Publishing
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2017-10-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV000000, JUV030010
Dewey [Fic]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
Lexile 590
ATOS Reading Level 3.2
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 192429
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews


  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2018
  • Children's Africana Book Award Honor Book, Commended, 2018
  • Kate Greenaway Children's Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2017


Booklist Online

“Sweeping lines and elongated shapes make goats and camels appear graceful in this arid Kenyan landscape and lend a refreshing, contemporary tone to the story. Readers will be drawn to Etabo’s vulnerability and to his sister, Akiru’s generosity.”—Booklist

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“The text is streamlined but warm and sometimes humorous. . . . Kids with unmet desires of their own will relate to this gentle tale that gives dreams full respect in their own right.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

School Library Journal

“The beautiful illustrations and message about resilience will resonate with a variety of readers young and old. Perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.”—starred, School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“[A] bittersweet story . . .”—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“[An] empathetic look at a Turkana boy’s deferred dreams and a family’s struggle for a resource taken for granted by most American children strikes an important chord for families.”—Kirkus Reviews

Author: Wanuri Kahiu

Born in Nairobi, Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu's award-winning films have screened in more than 100 film festivals around the world. The Wooden Camel is her first picture book.

Illustrator: Manuela Adreani

Manuela Adreani is a children's book illustrator and animator living in Turin, Italy. She illustrated The Wooden Camel, A Bank Street Best Books of the Year title.