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Listen to the Wind

Last updated Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Author: Greg Mortenson
Illustrator: Susan Roth
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0803730586
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2011

Synopsis: From Booklist: Best-selling author Mortenson told his remarkable story in the adult book Three Cups of Tea (2006). After getting lost while trying to climb the mountain K2, he found himself in a Pakistani village. This, as it turned out was the beginning of a different journey. Here Mortenson and Roth retell his remarkable story through the eyes of Pakistani children. After being rescued and nursed to health by the villagers, Mortenson wonders what he can do to thank them. Advised by a wise elder to “listen to the wind,” Mortenson becomes aware of children’s voices, children he has helped teach during his convalescence, and he decides to build them a school. The steep terrain and remote setting present nearly overwhelming obstacles, but finally, the school is opened with great celebration. The picture-book narrative successfully compresses Mortenson’s story by focusing on the elements most important to children: the stranger’s appearance, the drama of the construction, the happy conclusion. Colorful fabric, cut-paper, and even computer-chip collages portray the dramatic landscape and incredible undertaking. Children will also enjoy an appended scrapbook of photographs, maps, and additional information.

Note to readers:
•  The last few pages of the book has more information about Greg Mortenson and the Korphe school project; including photos and a map.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever heard of Afghanistan?
•  Have you ever helped build something before?
•  Why do you think learning is important? What's something interesting you learned so far this year?
•  Have you ever volunteered or helped in a school community project? (many of the schools just completed either a winter coat drive or a can drive)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think it would be like to live in a town that you could only get to in a bucket over a river?
•  What does it take to build a school? What supplies you would need? What books would you put in the library?
•  Do you know of other people who have done something to help their community (this is NOT a question to fish for a compliment)

Craft ideas:
•  Make a collage of your neighborhood, house, or school! Try to use a limited amount of paper and use ever piece of what is cut between the reading club just like what the Korphe women do with their hats.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!