Monday, November 30, 2009


This is one of three books I took to my Tuesday morning workout at Parrish Health and Fitness. Yes Ms. Louise works out. You couldn’t tell it by looking at me, but I have a personal trainer who has been trying to work me into health and fitness for over a year. Today was treadmill and elliptical day and I brought books to read. This is the first.

First the reason I picked this book to read was because of the cover. Illustrators the cover is very important and this one is definitely a work of art! It’s beautiful. Luckily the story inside is just as wonderful. It’s dedicated to Pemba Doma Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest via the North Face. I don’t usually quote the dedication page, but then again most picture books don’t have a dedication page. This one does and after reading the story you will understand.

It’s a wonderfully crafted story of an older brother and younger sister in Nepal. He tells of how young boys carry wood to school each day, so that they will be warm enough to concentrate on their studies and strong enough when older to carry packs on their backs as Sherpa’s or porters for hikers.

Don’t miss this story. I don’t think it will keep the attention of children under four, but it will their parents. It took about 10-15 minutes to read and I think that everyone, every age, will love the artwork. Check it out of your local library or bookstore.

Louise Nottingham

Booklist Online Exclusive: October 7, 2009
Advanced Review
Pemba Sherpa.
Cossi, Olga (Author) , Bernard, Gary (Illustrator)
Aug 2009. 32 p. Odyssey, hardcover, $15.95. (9780976865568).

In a Himalayan village in Tibet, a young boy rises before dawn to collect firewood. His younger sister, Yang Ki, longs to join him in his task, which is part of the training to be a Sherpa, but the boy scoffs: it isn’t girls’ work. One morning, though, Yang Ki disregards her brother’s bossy command to stay home, follows him along the steep mountain path, and saves his life when he loses his footing. When Yang Ki carries his heavy load of firewood home, the villagers are astonished, and she does indeed grow up to be a famous guide. Narrated in the voice of the boy as an old man looking back, this dramatic story gracefully embeds specifics of Tibetan culture as it captures a child’s universal feelings of frustration when she is held back and underestimated, her determination, and her final pleasure when she triumphs. The illustrations’ sketched ink lines, delicately layered with sheer colors, capture the strength and fragility of mountain life and create memorable characters in the two strong-willed siblings.
— Gillian Engberg

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