What a brilliant idea: Greg Mortenson has adapted his humanitarian memoir Three Cups of Tea for young readers! As an adult book, Mortenson's first-person account of his work setting up schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan became a surprise bestseller. This edition has been updated and thoughtfully reshaped for the needs and interests of children: In addition to new photographs and illustrations, this paperback version contains an interview by Mortenson's 12-year-old daughter, Amira, who, as an industrious Pennies for Peace Program volunteer, qualifies as a bona fide activist herself.
Listen to the Wind tells Mortenson's story in the clear, succinct voices of the children of Korphe. Leaving out background and history, the picture-book version is nevertheless true to the spirit of Mortenson's experience and mission. The minimal text is splendidly paired with Susan L. Roth's textural, earth-toned collages, which evoke the roughness of the terrain and the primitive quality of life there.
The New York Times
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.
Holding true to the original title for adults, Three Cups of Tea (Viking, 2006), this moving story will amaze and inspire young readers. After getting lost while climbing the world's second tallest mountain, the K2 in the Baltistan region of Pakistan, Mortenson, a nurse, stumbled into a small village and learned of the dire circumstances in which local people lived. While recovering, Dr. Greg met the children of Korphe, who were eager to learn but were forced to write their lessons with sticks on the ground. Wanting to do something special for the village, he was encouraged by wise man Haji Ali to "listen to the wind." Dr. Greg listened, heard the eager voices of students at their lessons, and promised to return to build a school. The remarkable account of this quest, which involved constructing a bridge and manually carrying supplies to the building site, is magnificently enhanced by Roth's colorful collages. As explained in an artist's note, she incorporated fabric, bits of paper, and other fibers into the scenery in appreciation of the Balti people's aesthetic use of scraps. "A Korphe Scrapbook" follows the story, displaying photographs of the events, the village's inhabitants, and the librarian who helped to fill this school and the 57 more schools that have since been built in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Readers are informed that it is easy to make a difference by donating pennies to support education in impoverished countries. This truly exceptional and moving title should not be missed.-Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
In this distilled version of the inspirational adult bestseller-at least its first part-the children of a Pakistani mountain village describe in a collective voice how their lessons had been outside, written with sticks on the ground, until they sheltered a lost American stranger who returned later to build both a bridge and a school. Using a wide variety of patterned papers and fabrics, Roth creates collages crowded with color and detail, casting groups of smiling, dark-eyed villagers and their welcome guest against steep, stony mountains. Closing with a scrapbook of captioned color location photos and an artist's note, this makes an effective discussion-starter for new and prereaders about waging peace. For middle readers, the adult title is also available in a version adapted by Sarah Thomson (Three Cups of Tea, $16.99, 978-0-8037-3392-3), which sometimes takes a patronizing tone (Mortenson, commenting on his hate mail: "'I expected something like this from an ignorant village mullah . . . .'") but also features both an update and a long interview with Mortenson's 12-year-old activist daughter, Amira. (Picture book. 6-8)