Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Three Cups of Tea by Mortenson and Relin; Baseball

I try not to complain about things, but it's always good to read a book that nips even those vague thoughts of "I hate to bike in the raaaaain" in the bud. Three Cups of Tea (The Young Readers edition) is certainly that book.

Mr. Mortenson was climbing a mountain in Pakistan in honor of his sister who died at a young age, when he got lost and almost died. Villagers took him in and cared for him, even though they barely had enough for themselves. He vowed to build a school for their community after watching children uncomplainingly do lessons without a teacher, writing with sticks in the mud. Building a school in this remote area was not easy, but he perservered and eventually was put in charge of the Central Asia Institute which works to provide education, especially for girls, in this area.

I stayed up past my bed time to finish this. It really was riveting, and is quite a call to action. If my school weren't already involved in five other fund raising projects, I would definitely try to get people interested in this. Read this if you feel like complaining about anything!

I was pleasantly surprised by Alan Gratz's The Brooklyn Nine, since his other books (Samurai Shortstop, Something Rotten) had not filled the needs of my library. It's hard to give a plot summary, since this is really nine short stories, following one family through nine generations who all touch on baseball in Brooklyn. It touched on a variety of social problems, especially race, that changed through the years. I especially liked the way that women's baseball during World War II was brought into the picture. This was informative without being preachy, had enough actual sport to keep baseball fans reading, and would be a great book for boys who need to read historical fiction but really don't want to.

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