totimbuktu

To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story by Casey Scieszka, illustrated by Steven Weinberg

Travel, romance and finding oneself are what makes this book irresistible.  Casey and Steven met in Morocco, had a long distance relationship across the US, and then moved together to China and eventually Mali.  This book celebrates taking leaps of faith with one another, experiencing life to the fullest, embracing different cultures, and just being entirely human in the process.  Come spend a year with an engaging couple who teach, write, draw, and inspire.

Scieszka’s writing is frank and inviting.  She captures travel and the experience of other cultures with an honesty that is very refreshing.  From the rush of a new country and its own unique culture to the isolation and boredom that sometimes result, there is no shrinking away from even the bowel-churning portions of travel.  At the same time, she depicts a growing relationship with Weinberg that slowly deepens and naturally evolves.

Weinberg’s illustrations are equally refreshing with their rough edges, free lines and widely smiling faces.  As one turns the pages in the book, each new page is often a new story, a moment captured from their travels.  The illustrations help make this work very well.

Reading this would send me into memories of my own travels, thinking about times when I had felt the same or done something similar.  If you are a traveler, this book will speak directly to you and your experiences.  If you are hoping to become one, this book will inspire you to do it.

A winning combination of illustration and story, this book will inspire older teen readers to take a different course in life: a path all their own.  Appropriate for ages 16-adult.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.