'Three Cups of Tea' for kids

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We regularly invite Monitor readers to write and tell us about their favorite books. It's not very surprising that some titles are mentioned again and again. There are the old-school classics (Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare.) There are new classics ("The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" and anything by Alexander McCall Smith.)

And then there is "Three Cups of Tea."

By far, the book most mentioned by our readers over the past couple of years has been "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. (The Monitor's review of this book ran on 9/12/06.)

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"Three Cups of Tea" tells the story of how Mortenson, an American mountain climber, found himself lost and alone in the glacial expanses of Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. To quote the Monitor review, "He finally staggered, emaciated, into the impoverished village of Korphe. Residents there had never seen a foreigner, but they took him in, sharing their meager provisions and nurturing him back to health."

"As he recuperated, Mr. Mortenson was appalled to find children practicing multiplication tables by scratching numbers on the frosty ground with a stick. They had no paper or pencils, and the village could not afford $1 a day for a teacher."

" 'I'm going to build you a school,' Mortenson told them. 'I promise.' "

Mortenson keeps his promise and recounts the inspiring story in "Three Cups of Tea," a book that became a surprise bestseller when it was published in 2006.

Now, as of last week, new versions of "Three Cups of Tea" are available for young readers.

"Three Cups of Tea: The Young Reader's Version" is aimed at children ages 9-12. This paperback version has been adapted for young readers and updated. It includes new photos, illustrations, a glossary, and an interview with Mortenson's 12-year-old daughter who has traveled with her father.

"Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea" is aimed at even younger readers. Accompanied by collages by Susan L. Roth, Mortenson tells his story in simple words. At the back of the book are photographs and a note from Roth about the creation of her collages.

It's a great bet for classrooms and out-of-school reading as well.

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