Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Listen to the Wind

“We are the children of Korphe.

Not so long ago we had our lessons outside.

We learned to write with sticks, on the ground.

But then Dr. Greg came to our village,

and he listened to the wind…”

Listen to the Wind, by Greg Mortenson, is a beautiful true story of a man who lost his way on a climb of K2 in Pakistan, but was rescued and nurtured back to health by the people of the Korphe village.  Mortenson knew he had to give something back to the people of Korphe so he asked the village wise man what he should do, the wise man told him “Listen to the wind” and when he did Mortenson knew what he needed to do…

The story Listen to the wind is told from the children of Korphe’s point of view. It is a very inspiring story of one mans gratitude and a villages strength to work together. The illustrations in the book are by Susan L. Roth. When making her collages she uses materials just like the women of Korphe do to make their clothing. Roth’s collages alone tell such a heart warming story.

At the end of the book there is a collection of photographs of the villagers journey through this story. It allows readers to see how true the story really is and it gives readers more insight to how the people of the Korphe village look and where they live.

Children of all ages will enjoy the story of hope and courage in this book. As students get older they can read the young reader’s version Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World…One Child at a Time or the adult version Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time.

Curriculum Connections
Listen to the Wind
is a great book that can be used in multiple areas of education. There are so many lessons being taught in this story from the one that Dr. Greg learns about giving back to those that help you to the lesson of community and how working together can accomplish some wonderful things. This book is a great tool to introduce China and the mountains that separate it from Pakistan (Geography 2.4). There is a great lesson in cultural differences and in economics with showing how different cultures have different wants and needs (Economics 2.9) The book can be used in an art class to show how everyday materials can be used to make beautiful clothes just as the people of Korphe do. There is a strong message of community service and a good way to introduce different charities like Pennies for Peace (Civics 2.10c). Listen to the Wind is a true story and it can be used in a language arts lesson to talk about the differences between non-fiction and fiction. The book is written from the eyes of the children of the Korphe village and this can be used to have students write their own stories.

Additional Resources

  • Pennies for Peace Here students can learn about the charity and how each penny can make a big difference in another students life.
  • At Kids Around The World students can connect to kids in other countries and learn more about their culture through games, songs and other activities.
  • Visit Yahoo kids to find a great website that gives facts that students would want to know about Pakistan and any other country they would want to learn more about.

General Information

  • Book: Listen to the Wind
  • Author: Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth
  • Illustrator: Susan L. Roth
  • Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
  • Publication Date:2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Grade Range: K-3
  • ISBN-10: 0803730586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803730588