Pemba Sherpa

by Olga Cossi and Gary Bernard

An elderly Sherpa man recalls the time in his childhood when he learned to stop scoffing... read more

An elderly Sherpa man recalls the time in his childhood when he learned to stop scoffing at his little sister’s dream of becoming a mountain porter and guide. Pemba and his younger sister, Yang Ki, live in Khumjung, a Sherpa village in Nepal. Each morning he must make a three-hour, round-trip journey to fetch wood for the school stove. One day his little sister follows him, insistent that she, too, can haul wood, learn English, and become a mountain guide. In trying to outdistance her, Pemba is caught in a landslide. To his mixed relief, dismay, and initial embarrassment, Yang Ki is able to pull him to safety; she gathers his wood and carries it back to the village while he limps along behind. Additional information distinguishing this as fiction would have been welcome (the story does not seem to be based on the childhood of Pemba Dona Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to summit Mt. Everest from the north, although it is dedicated to her memory), but this absence doesn’t detract from the quiet drama here. (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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