Friday, November 12, 2010

Bringing Tibet to the classroom, bringing the classroom to Tibet

Good news for The Chiru of High Tibet!

The National Science Teachers Association--Children's Book Council's Outstanding Science Committee has named the book to the "Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12" List for 2011.

I hope that teachers who work with students of all ages will want to use this book.. I plan, over time, to share books in several curriculum content areas that relate to The Chiru of High Tibet--endangered species, the environment, cultural studies.

I'm starting today with some books and stories that are set in Tibet or, as in the case of the George Schaller biography and Rick Ridgeway's book, are directly connected to The Chiru of High Tibet.

Picture Books

Berger, Barbara Helen. All the Way to Lhasa. Philomel, 2002. A telling of a Tibetan tale by the author of the wonderful Grandfather Twilight.

Gerstein, Mordecai. Mountains of Tibet. HarperCollins, 1989. Story of a Tibetan wood-cutter who loves to fly kites and is given a chance to live his life again.

Sis, Peter. Tibet Through the Red Box Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998. I loved this book before I even knew about the chiru. It's part autobiography, part folk tale, part journal. And of course includes Sis's wonderful art.

Soros, Barbara. Tenzin's Deer. (illustrated by Danuta Mayer) Barefoot Books, 2005. Tenzin discovers a wounded deer in the mountains and nurses it back to health.

Turner, Pamela S. A Life in the Wild: George Schaller's Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008.

Chapter Books

Dalai Lama (author) and Galen Rowell (photographer). My Tibet. University of California Press, 1995. The trek following the chiru told in The Chiru of High Tibet was not Galen Rowell's first trip to Tibet. In the 1990s he had taken stunning photographs of Tibet for this book. This is a wonderful book that can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to see more of Tibet and/or hear the voice of the Dalai Lama.

Rick Ridgeway. The Big Open. Rick Ridgeway's own telling of the trek following the chiru, along with a history of the trade in chiru skins and extensive details of the efforts by Tibetans and others to put an end to this trade. Rick Ridgeway is a wonderful writer and this is a good, accessible read for middle schoolers or older.

Tenberken, Sabriye. My Path Leads to Tibet. Arcade, 2004. Very accessible and gripping story of a young blind woman from Germany who decides to go to Tibet and establish a school for the blind children of Tibet. In Tibet blindness is sometimes considered a curse from the spirits. So blind children were often treated poorly, not allowed to leave home, forced to do the most menial work. This book takes readers to Tibet to watch as Tenberken works toward her goal and reminds us that one person can make a difference.

Books, plus barley crackers, hot tea with a bit of butter and a shake of salt take us almost to Tibet. Good travels!

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