Book Review: Amanda in Arabia by Darlene Foster

This book is part of a series of books written by the author. The book was published in 2010. I knew of it in 2018 but did not read it as it’s marketed as a children’s book which it is, but, one that falls into the category of informative children’s books.

I finally decided to pick it up last month after reading a few reviews of the book and found that 7 of the 9 books are free for kindle unlimited subscribers.
Under the series, there is ‘Amanda in Malta,’ ‘Amanda in Alberta,’ ‘Amanda in Spain,’ ‘Amanda in Holland,’ ‘Amanda in New Mexico,’ ‘Amanda on the Danube,’ ‘Amanda in England’ and ‘Amanda in Arabia’. Having been brought up in the Middle East, I was curious about ‘Amanda in Arabia’. And I have to say, I’m impressed with the manner in which the author has written a simple story in 108 pages providing facts about the country – Darlene Foster manages to cover all aspects that a middle school child should know – the landscape, people, currency, animals, sandboarding, sand storms, camel races and lots more and she does this without making it boring for the reader.

Despite having lived my life in the country, I learned some very interesting facts from the book- for instance, the term ‘broken dunes’ for a dune created by a sand storm that has blown the sand into a smooth hill on one side and left it broken off on the other, and that camels are called, ‘Ata Allah, which means, God’s gift’ – because they never get lost in a sand storm and, therefore, do not lead those traveling on them, astray.

About the book

Amanda is a twelve year-old girl who is gifted a one-month holiday in the UAE on her birthday. Her aunt and uncle stay in the UAE. This is her first visit to the country. In the book, we see Amanda exploring the United Arab Emirates,and getting caught up in an adventure, akin an Arabian Nights tale.

What I liked about the book?

->The style of writing– perfect for middle school children- simple and easy to understand.

->The extent of information given about the country.

The author describes the bedouin women’s dressing as: ‘ She wore a black abaya overdress and a black scarf over her head. Her face was covered with a black mask trimmed in copper with openings for her eyes.’ Amanda asked about the mask. Mrs Anderson, who is her aunt’s neighbour and is interested in history of this part of the world, explains, ‘ That style of mask is usually only seen in the outlying rural villages and in the mountains. Copper used to be mined in this area and was considered a luxury. That mask is most likely very old and would have been passed down from mother to daughter, through the generations.”

->The descriptions making it easy to visualize.

‘The sand changed to a red-brick color with cafe latte streaks as the sun dropped lower on the horizon. The never-ending, cloudless sky had been clear blue all day, but was now a warm, rosy color. The yellow sun blazed red as it dipped behind the dunes. The girl and camel were briefly silhouetted against the bronze Arabian sky before they disappeared below the rim of a burnt-umber dune.’

-> The discussion around marriage of young girls to older men against their will.

What the author says about the book?

Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl…
So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates?It’s her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake.
Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join Amanda on her first adventure, as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.

For who is the book?

The author says, the book is for 8-12 year olds. The book successfully instills the curiosity necessary to learn about different cultures.
I think it’s also good for folk who still have a child in them that dreams of traveling and adventure. The series is an interesting way to learn about a country if you haven’t visited it, if you’re living in it (you can see what an amazing job the author has done and who knows, you may learn something new about the country you live in) and if you’ve travelled to it (you can refresh your memory).

7 of the books in the series are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. So, if you are KUL subscriber, pick one free book to get a taste. What better way to travel than through books if you can’t get out there?

Here are a few of the other books in the series. Next, I plan to travel to Spain with Amanda. All Rights Reserved.

6 responses to “Book Review: Amanda in Arabia by Darlene Foster”

  1. robbiesinspiration Avatar

    Hi Smitha, this is a lovely review and it was interesting to get your insights on Darlene’s depiction of the Middle East. I also enjoyed this book, Amanda makes a delightful change form my usual heavy reading matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Hi Robbie…I was impressed that Darlene managed to cover all the important facts of the UAE in 108 pages and weaved it so well into the story. You’re right… it serves as a perfect break between heavy reading. I read it after Many Masters Many Lives and enjoyed it, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rajkkhoja Avatar

    Beautiful sharing book review I enjoy reading it’s.


  3. Darlene Avatar

    Enjoy, Spain. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Darlene Avatar

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review of my very first book. I am over the moon delighted that you enjoyed it. This is an author’s biggest wish, that people who have lived in the place Amanda visits, enjoy the book and feel I described it well – from a young person’s point of view. I think that children notice much more than many adults. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Darlene, I enjoyed the book very much. In fact, I asked my friend in Dubai if she knew about the masks and what the camel was called. It was consoling to know she didn’t either :). I’ve asked her to recommend it to her sister’s daughter and anyone of this age group. I’m off to Spain now, all thanks to you! XXX

      Liked by 1 person

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