Chandra’s Magic Light
By Theresa Heine (Author), Judith Gueyfier (Illustrator)
Chandra’s Magic Light: A Story in Nepal combines two things I feel passionately about in one: environmental sustainability and exploring other cultures. Two Nepalese girls are shopping in the market one day when they discover a man selling “magic” lights. These lights come with a strange promise: they take in light from the sun and then at night, generate light in your house. The lights say they will eliminate the need for burning lanterns, which are detrimental to health.
In typical Barefoot Books fashion, the book is beautifully illustrated—each page could make for wall art. There are also several pages at the end to learn more about Nepali culture. The book aroused interesting questions from my five- and seven-year-old daughters, mainly around currency (“what are rupees?”) and math—“how much do they need to buy the lantern?” I love the things children surprise you with in reading stories as their questions are never the ones you will expect. (Review by Stephanie Meade)
By Barbara Soros (Author), Danuta Mayer (Illustrator)
Tenzin’s Deer” target=”_blank”>Tenzin’s Deer is a perennial favorite of both me and my kids. Through the story about a deer injured by a hunter that a Tibetan boy nurses back to health with his care and love, we learn about the Buddhist principles of loving kindness. One of the main messages of this book is about our connection to the plants and animals of our world and the importance of living in harmony. My girls have asked for this book many times and I love reading it to them because of its beautiful and positive message. (Review by Stephanie Meade)
Hidden in the Himalayas
By Debbie Doctofsky-Solomon (Author), Silvia Dotti (Illustrator)
It’s climbing season and we see happy trekkers and busy sherpas on the slopes of the lofty Himalayas. Here, we enter a Nepalese household in Monjo, a village nestled among the lush mountains. As we learn more about the family, we see a little girl, Nema, carrying her doll Yeti everywhere. Soon, the story takes a turn when Nema loses Yeti on a return trip from Namche, her aunt’s village. As winter sets in and snow covers the slopes, Nema loses hope of ever finding Yeti. But in a few months, summer comes along and brings with it a beautiful friendship for Nema. She meets an English-speaking girl her age, Hannah, in Namche. We later follow Hannah and her family taking an adventurous trip in the slopes. What happens next? And where is Yeti? As we find these out, we also take a peek into a stunning landscape and the interesting aspects of life in the high mountains.
This heartwarming story set in the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas and suitable for ages four to nine, is a great introduction to the South Asian country. There is also a map and a note on Nepal at the end. Pictures hand-painted in watercolor aptly illustrate the incidents in the story including several cultural details. “Hidden in the Himalayas” is a story of friendship and adventure, taking us on a trek in one of the most beautiful and serene places in the world! (Review by Meera Sriram)