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.
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.
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.