To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story

Words by Casey Scieszka and pictures by Steven Weinberg | Roaring Brook Press 2011

Her words and my illustrations tell the story of our first two years out of college spent teaching English, making friends across language barriers, researching, painting, and adventuring around the world.


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Read the Reviews

Publisher’s Weekly (starred):

Impressively witty, perceptive, and candid, Scieszka’s present-tense narrative catapults readers into each setting, as do Weinberg’s fluid cartoon sketches, seamlessly incorporated into every page… Come grad season, skip Oh, the Places You’ll Go!–this will be far better appreciated, with its effortless mix of globe-trotting adventure, romance, humor, and expanding self-knowledge.


Newly fledged adults (and even those with plenty of mileage under their wings) will find both entertainment and perhaps a dollop of inspiration.

American Library Association’s Booklist Review:

For teens itching to get out into the world, this is a road map, and Casey and Steven make for eminently pleasant traveling companions.

School Library Journal:

Great inspiration for teenagers and young adults who are looking for adventure and self-discovery… Deftly and honestly explore[s] the challenges that come with trying to be travelers and not tourist in lands where the locals couldn’t help but view them as the latter, and the difficulties and beauties of friendships that span different cultures and languages. It also realistically depicts the strains travel can have on a relationship, as well as the strengths it brings…Often humorous, and occasionally heartbreaking, the book presents a lovely picture of the couple’s life together during this time with simple, eloquent text and emotive cartoon-style drawings.

Lonely Planet:

A breath of fresh air from a sometimes contrived, bloated genre… Weinberg’s charcoal illustrations perfectly complement Scieszka’s caught-in-the-headlights style prose… Scieszka constantly reviews her emotions and has a knack of raising poignant questions not only about her own work and motivations, but about those of the wider community…This should be a must-read for any bright-eyed Gen X or Y (especially couples!) thinking of living and working in a non-Western environment.

The BookReporter:

[Scieszka is] quite good. Illustrator Steven Weinberg (her boyfriend)… is an illustrator with substantial gifts, and because the two are a real-life couple, they’ve managed to pair their writing and drawings perfectly, matching every scene with a picture that illuminates and gives the story life. The word-art combinations are laugh-out-loud funny and make the book one you’ll want to buy and keep… The writing and art are impressive, making it possible for the reader to be transported… Whatever your politics or preconceived notions, you’re sure to love TO TIMBUKTU. Thus far, it is my favorite book of the year.