On the afternoon of September 2, 1993, Greg Mortenson realized that he had failed in his attempt to climb K2, the world's second-highest mountain. But disappointment was the least of his problems. Emaciated, exhausted, thoroughly disoriented, and suffering from edema, his grip on life was loosening. He was taken in and nursed back to health by the impoverished populace of a remote Pakistani village. Grateful, he promised to return someday to build them a school. Three Cups of Tea is the story of that promise and the story of how one man changed the world, one school at a time.
In 1993, while climbing one of the world's most difficult peaks, Mortenson became lost and ill, and eventually found aid in the tiny Pakistani village of Korphe. He vowed to repay his generous hosts by building a school; his efforts have grown into the Central Asia Institute, which has since provided education for 25,000 children. Retold for middle readers, the story remains inspirational and compelling. Solid pacing and the authors' skill at giving very personal identities to people of a different country, religion and culture help Mortenson deliver his message without sounding preachy; he encourages readers to put aside prejudice and politics, and to remember that the majority of people are good. An interview with Mortenson's 12-year-old daughter, who has traveled with her father to Pakistan, offers another accessible window onto this far-away and underlines Mortenson's sacrifice and courage. Illustrated throughout with b&w photos, it also contains two eight-page insets of color photos.
The picture book, while close in content to the longer books, is written in the voice of Korphe's children rather than providing Mortenson's view, making it easier for American kids to enter the story. Roth (Leon's Story) pairs the words with her signature mixed-media collage work, this time using scraps of cloth along with a variety of papers. Her work has a welcoming, tactile dimension-readers would want to touch the fabric headscarves, for example. A detailed scrapbook featuring photos from Three Cups of Tea and an artist's note firmly ground the book in fact. A portion of the authors' royalties will benefit the Central Asia Institute. (Jan.)Copyright © ReedBusiness Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Jody J. Little
This memoir by Greg Mortenson begins in 1993 with his failure to reach the summit of K2, the world's second tallest mountain. Disoriented from the high altitude and discouraged by his failure, Greg gets lost and stumbles into the remote Pakistani village of Korphe. It is in Korphe, through the friendships he develops with the locals, that Greg discovers his next calling in life. He wants to build a school for the children of Korphe. He returns to the U.S. to raise money but realizes that he has no idea how to do this. Some good fortune brings him a benefactor, a man named Jean Hoerni, who is intrigued by Greg's idea and offers him the money to build a school. Thrilled, Greg returns to Korphe with money and supplies only to learn that the villagers have a more immediate needa bridge. Greg helps build their bridge and then three years later, in 1996, the Korphe School is finally finished. Greg next turns his attention to other villages needing schools. With the help of his friend and benefactor, Hoerni, a foundation called Central Asia Institute (CAI) is formed to help Greg continue his work. During the next 12 years, Greg helps build more than 60 schools for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan despite many frightening moments including a kidnapping, illness and even death threats. To assist teachers and parents, this young reader's edition includes a question and answer chapter with Greg's daughter, Amira, a glossary of terms, a timeline and a reader's guide. Reviewer: Jody J. Little
VOYA - Sophie Brookover
This young readers' version of the wildly successful book about Greg Mortenson, founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute, is good for what it is-a younger adaptation of a successful book for adults. The subject matter-Mortenson's serendipitous discovery of his calling to build schools for children in impoverished, remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan-should certainly be of interest, and Thompson does a serviceable job of keeping the story appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. Thomson addresses potentially disturbing issues like Mortenson's kidnapping and various near-death experiences with sensitivity and clearly depicts the people Mortenson works with and for as fully human, in just a few deft strokes. Overall, though, the narrative here is best characterized as medicinal reading, colored by the occasional inspiring flash, which is the opposite of the style and effect of the book written for adults. By far the most engaging part of the book is the interview with Mortenson's twelve-year-old daughter Amira, whose enthusiastic, earnest, and warmly expressed views on the privilege of education and its power to lift people of every race and creed out of poverty and hopelessness is the clarion call the book as a whole wants but fails to be. Maps, photos, a time line, and the glossary round out this title's usefulness and classroom readiness. Thomson deserves an A+ for effort and a B- for execution and youthful appeal. Reviewer: Sophie Brookover
"Greg Mortenson was lost. He didn't know it yet." So begins Greg Mortenson's inspirational story. He attempted to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, but he never made it to the top and ended up lost in Pakistan. The people of Korphe took him in and helped him. He was so moved by their generosity that he vowed to build a school for the children. He spent several years raising money to build over 60 schools. Over the course of his work in Pakistan, he has had to deal with soldiers, Taliban officials, village leaders, politicians, and the mujahideen. "With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger," a villager tells Greg. "With the second cup, you are an honored guest. With the third, you become family." The generosity of the Pakistani people with whom Greg becomes family contrasts sharply with the image that many Americans have. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
Rescued by Pakistani villagers after a failed attempt at climbing K2, Mortenson vowed to build them a school. Twelve years later, his Central Asia Institute has built 55 schools (some serving girls) despite fatwas and worse. With a six-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Hiking in the mountains of Pakistan in 1993, Mortenson got lost. He found his way to a small village where the locals helped him recover from his ordeal. While there, he noticed that the students had no building and did all of their schooling out of doors. Motivated to repay the kindness he had received, he vowed to return to the village and help build a school. Thus began his real life's journey. Mortenson's story recounts the troubles he faced in the U.S. trying to raise the money and then in Pakistan, trying to get the actual supplies to a remote mountain location. His eventual success led to another, and yet another, until he established a foundation and built a string of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson manages to give the story an insider's feel despite being an outsider himself. His love of the region and the people is evident throughout and his dedication to them stalwart. The writing is lively, if simplistic, and for the most part the story moves along at a fairly quick clip. In this specially adapted edition for young people, new photographs and an interview with Mortenson's young daughter, who often travels with him, have been added.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
An unlikely diplomat scores points for America in a corner of the world hostile to all things American-and not without reason. Mortenson first came to Pakistan to climb K2, the world's second-tallest peak, seeking to honor his deceased sister by leaving a necklace of hers atop the summit. The attempt failed, and Mortenson, emaciated and exhausted, was taken in by villagers below and nursed back to health. He vowed to build a school in exchange for their kindness, a goal that would come to seem as insurmountable as the mountain, thanks to corrupt officials and hostility on the part of some locals. Yet, writes Parade magazine contributor Relin, Mortenson had reserves of stubbornness, patience and charm, and, nearly penniless himself, was able to piece together dollars enough to do the job; remarks one donor after writing a hefty check, "You know, some of my ex-wives could spend more than that in a weekend," adding the proviso that Mortenson build the school as quickly as possible, since said donor wasn't getting any younger. Just as he had caught the mountaineering bug, Mortenson discovered that he had a knack for building schools and making friends in the glacial heights of Karakoram and the remote deserts of Waziristan; under the auspices of the Central Asia Institute, he has built some 55 schools in places whose leaders had long memories of unfulfilled American promises of such help in exchange for their services during the war against Russia in Afghanistan. Comments Mortenson to Relin, who is a clear and enthusiastic champion of his subject, "We had no problem flying in bags of cash to pay the warlords to fight against the Taliban. I wondered why we couldn't do the same thing to buildroads, and sewers, and schools."Answering by delivering what his country will not, Mortenson is "fighting the war on terror the way I think it should be conducted," Relin writes. This inspiring, adventure-filled book makes that case admirably.