Himalaya (Vanishing Culture Series)

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Namaste! Welcome to another of Jan Reynolds gorgeous books from the Vanishing Cultures series. This one is set in the Himalaya mountains. The Sherpa and the Tibetan peoples live a life that is very different from those of us in the Western World and we are introduced to this way of life through a young girl, Yangshi and her little sister, as we share the ordinary moments of their lives. A series of vivid photographs usher us into the world of rice, yaks, outdoor markets and prayer wheels. This is a place where everyone contributes by cleaning or harvesting or creating. The breathtaking moon rising over the towering, snowy mountains tells us we are far from home and the terraced land is exotic and seemingly spiritual. Missing here are the material goods that we rely on yet the faces in the pictures are happy and the connections among the people are plentiful. This is a beautiful way to introduce this faraway land and its culture to our young learners. 32 pages

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This title is part of the series “Vanishing Cultures.” With vibrant photography and easy to comprehend text, author/photographer Reynolds gives children a glimpse into the daily lives of Sherpa siblings Yangshi and Sonam as they pursue their daily activities: waking up to warm, milky tea called chia, going to the Saturday market to buy goods and sell the rice drink their mother makes for income, sometimes going with their father to the monastery where their father asks for blessings—and where the sisters spin the prayer wheels to pray for more good fortune. The girls also help work the garden, wash the clothes by hand, sweep the floors, and card the wool so their mother can spin it into yarn. Despite the hard work, the girls are happy and rosy-cheeked. They love their lives in this sometimes harsh climate, but readers will learn that their way of life is vanishing as modern society encroaches: new roads and trucks are taking the place of the ancient routes that were used by yaks to carry trade goods. The author includes a personal reflection on the journey she took to document this culture and its way of life. Although there is no bibliography appended to this title, it will still prove to be a very useful starting point for young researchers and citizens of our global economy. A free teacher’s guide is available at the publisher’s site: leeandlow.com.
Recommended by Shari Shaw, Librarian, Michigan USA

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