UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Courtesy of Puffin Books

Three Cups of Tea

Best seller's children's edition offers important lessons about cultural sensitivity, religious tolerance and the power of education

By Trisha Elliott

Three Cups of Tea
By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, adapted for young readers
by Sarah Thomson
(Puffin Books) $11



Three Cups of Tea: The Young Reader’s Edition is a less politicized version of the best-selling adult non-fiction work of the same name. Both books recount the hospitality that saved Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greg Mortenson’s life and the friendships that radically redirected it.

In 1993, Mortenson attempted to climb K2, the second-tallest mountain in the world. But he got lost in extremely cold conditions without food, water or warm clothing and wound up in the village of Korphe, Pakistan, where Haji Ali, the village chief, and other Balti tribespeople nursed him back to health. Together, they changed the course of Mortenson’s life with their compassion, insight — and tea.

“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die,” Ali told Mortenson over several cups of tea.

Mortenson’s relationship with Ali awakened him to the struggles of people in some of the most remote villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Three Cups of Tea describes how Mortenson not only fulfilled his promise to Ali to build a school in Korphe but accomplished the mammoth task of raising funds to build more than 60 others.

A chapter book full of important lessons about perseverance, cultural sensitivity, religious tolerance, bravery, sexism and the power of education to promote peace, Three Cups is well worth encouraging middle-schoolers to read. Young people will identify with Mortenson’s 12-year-old daughter, Amira, who describes some of her own perspectives on education and gratitude in a Q-and-A section. Additionally, the photos, glossary and timeline make the story more accessible than the adult version. Discussion questions at the end of the book would stimulate good conversation over the kitchen table or in the classroom.

Although Three Cups of Tea could be a more descriptive and engaging read, it’s hard not to be impressed and inspired by it.


Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image