Monday, July 13, 2009

100 (2009 #25). Listen to the Wind

by Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth

My book club will be reading Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea later this year, so this children's version of the story caught my eye. Even if the subtitle (The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea) hadn't, the cover artwork would have.

Susan Roth has created stunning, colorful, three-dimensional, highly textural collages for this book's illustrations. The head scarves (made of fabric or textured papers) of the Pakistani girls and women look as though they are actually wrapped around the heads. Paper fingers are bent and look as though they are actually holding objects. Roth includes an informative artist's note at the end of the book, explaining her inspiration and how she created the collages and base papers.

The story, of Greg Mortenson's follow-though on a promise to build a school in a remote village after the people there helped him recover after a failed mountain climb in the area, is inspiring. A scrapbook with actual photographs of the villagers and the school at the end of the book shows children the story is true.

I'd love to know more about Julia Bergman, the librarian who helped stock the shelves in the schools. I'm looking forward to learning more about her when I read the book that inspired this picture book version.

The artwork in Listen to the Wind will encourage children to create their own collages, and the story will prompt them to consider ways in which one person's actions can make such a difference. I will definitely be purchasing this book for the curriculum collection of my university's library.

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