for Pemba Sherpa by Olga Cossi and Gary Bernard
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)
CCBC Choices 2010. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010. Used with permission.
An exquisitely illustrated story wherein a brother and his younger sister face a life-threatening and life-changing landslide. Pemba and his younger sister Yang Ki both yearn for roles as guides and porters to the high country of the Himalayas. While such a goal is well within Pemba's reach, his seven-year-old sister faces an obstacle, mainly because girls aren't encouraged, let alone accepted, as porters or guides. As Pemba begins his predawn hike to gather firewood for their school, Yang Ki trails a few feet behind him, resolute in the face of this admonitions to remain at their hut. The trail is sharp, and lose rocks erupt into a landslide that leaves Pemba dazed and desperate for help. As he and Yang Ki resolve the peril of the landslide, both brother and sister reach beyond their perceived limitations to regain safety as well as alter viewpoints about societal roles.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.