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Pick of the Month May: “Le sable, une ressource qui nous file entre les doigts – Sand, eine Ressource, die uns duch die Finger rinnt”

Would you have guessed it ? Among all the precious resources our civilization is depending on, sand is one of the most demanded – and most rare. Yes, yes, you have read correctly. Our monthly selection will help you to find out where you encounter it day by day and why it has become a scarce commodity, despite large areas of our planet being covered with desert sand. And some of the books will bring you closer to the lives of different people being intertwined with the desert.

Sand Stories: Surprising truths about the global sand crisis and the quest for sustainable solutions

The overuse of sand is ‘one of the major sustainability challenges of the 21st-century.’ – United Nations Environment Program, 2019

Sand is the hidden foundation of our society. In Sand Stories, Kiran Pereira maps out the big picture of why it is the most consumed commodity on the planet after water. The book also examines the impacts of our seemingly insatiable demand for sand on our global Sustainable Development Goals.

The concern is that sand is a non-renewable resource and not every kind of sand is useful. While the number of sand’s uses beyond glass and concrete is growing, its sources are not. The good news is that there are solutions to this alarming global problem including those that foster a circular economy. We now need the political will to enact them.

Kiran Peireira

Rethority Media / 2020 / 352 pp.


La petite fille qui voulait voir le désert

Le Grand Désert s’étend derrière la colline qui se dresse à côté du village de la petite Tinnkiri. Pour dissuader les enfants, on raconte que l’ogre Pangka-langou à peau de lézard dévore les imprudents… Mais la petite fille est bien déterminée à s’y aventurer.

Annie Langlois, ill. par Madeleine Brunelet

Flammarion Jeunesse / 2018 / 32 p. / à partir de 4 ans


Die Brunnen der Wüste – Mit den Beduinen durch das unbekannte Arabien

Als einer der ersten Europäer hat Wilfred Thesiger die Wüste Rub al-Khali durchquert: das „Leere Viertel“ auf der arabischen Halbinsel, 780.000 Quadratkilometer Sand. Zwischen 1947 und 1950 durchstreifte er sie, ständig bedroht von Wassermangel und Stammesfehden. Er lebte mit den Beduinen und ahnte den Untergang ihrer traditionellen Kultur, der Nomadenkarawanen und Falkenjagd.

Sein fesselnder Bericht berührt als Zeugnis dieser Welt – des alten Arabiens, wie es war, bevor Ölsucher, Lastwagen und westliche Importe es zermürbten. Das Dokument eines der letzten Entdecker zählt wie „Die sieben Säulen der Weisheit“ zur großen Abenteuerliteratur.

Wilfred Thesiger

Malik / 2013 / 384 S.


L’enfant du désert

Dans ce récit poétique et engagé, Pierre Rabhi s’adresse pour la première fois aux enfants pour leur raconter son histoire et partager ses idées en faveur de la planète.

Pierre Rabhi semble avoir eu mille vies. Né dans une oasis du Sahara, le garçon est confié à l’âge de quatre ans à une famille d’adoption. l’enfant du désert découvre le tourbillon de la grande ville d’Oran. Plus tard, il s’embarque pour Paris où il travaillera dans une usine. C’est là qu’il rencontre Michelle, sa future femme. Ensemble, ils décident de s’installer à la campagne, en Ardèche. Sur cette terre asséchée et rocailleuse, avec patience, ils réalisent leur rêve: cultiver un jardin respectueux de la nature, qui pourrait les nourrir et leur permettre de vivre autrement.

Claire EggermontPierre Rabhi, Ill. par Marc N’Guessan

Gallimard Jeunesse / 2019 / 128 p. / à partir de 10 ans


Sand – Wie uns eine wertvolle Ressource durch die Finger rinnt

Unsere Welt ist auf Sand gebaut, denn als Grundstoff von Beton steckt Sand in fast allen Gebäuden und Straßen. Auch für die Produktion von Computerchips, Papier und Zahnpasta ist er notwendig. Sand ermöglicht unseren heutigen Lebensstil, daher ist er in geeigneter Qualität längst Mangelware – und die Redewendung „wie Sand am Meer“ irreführend.

Der vielfach ausgezeichnete Journalist Vince Beiser nimmt uns mit in das Reich des Sandes, zu seinen Quellen, Einsatzmöglichkeiten und zu den Konflikten um seine Förderung. Er erzählt die fesselnde Geschichte eines Stoffes, ohne den unser modernes Leben nicht möglich wäre – und zeigt auf, was uns droht, wenn er ausgeht.

Vince Beiser

oekom / 2021 / 320 S.


Beyond the Sand and Sea: One Family’s Quest for a Country to Call Home

When Asad Hussein was growing up in the world’s largest refugee camp, nearly every aspect of life revolved around getting to America – a distant land where anything was possible. Thousands of displaced families like his were whisked away to the United States in the mid-2000s, leaving the dusty encampment in northeastern Kenya for new lives in suburban America. When Asad was nine, his older sister Maryan was resettled in Arizona, but Asad, his parents, and his other siblings were left behind. In the years they waited to join her, Asad found refuge in dog-eared novels donated by American charities, many of them written by immigrants who had come to the United States from poor and war-torn countries. Maryan nourished his dreams of someday writing such novels, but it would be another fourteen years before he set foot in America.

The story of Asad, Maryan, and their family’s escape from Dadaab refugee camp is one of perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity. It is also a story of happenstance, of long odds and impossibly good luck, and of uncommon generosity. In a world where too many young men are forced to make dangerous sea crossings in search of work, are recruited into extremist groups, and die at the hands of brutal security forces, Asad not only made it to the United States to join Maryan, but won a scholarship to study literature at Princeton—the first person born in Dadaab ever admitted to the prestigious university.

Beyond the Sand and Sea is an extraordinary and inspiring book for anyone searching for pinpricks of light in the darkness. Meticulously reported over three years, it reveals the strength of a family of Somali refugees who never lost faith in America—and exposes the broken refugee resettlement system that kept that family trapped for more than two decades and has turned millions into permanent exiles.

Ty McCormick

St. Martin’s Press / 2021 / 288 pp.

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