Hannah Overman Koch

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Kindness Chronicles

This month's Kindness Chronicles comes in a unique form this month-

A Book Review
and a plan to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year...

Recently I read...

Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

"Three Cups of Tea" Young Adult Edition Book Cover Image
Image courtesy Central Asia Institute
Young Adult Reader Version

This book begins...
With the author Greg Mortenson climbing a mountain in Pakistan named K2 back in 1993 when he became lost from his group and found himself wandering into a small, poor village named Korphe.  The kindness of the village people of Korphe toward him during that difficult time touched him and he wanted to help them in any way that he could.  He saw they needed a school. That was it!  Greg Mortenson promised to return one day soon ready to build a school for the children of Korphe.  This book details his journey of building their school and the beginning of his life work instilling a priority of education across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The title "Three Cups of Tea" is what originally caught my eye and after seeing the cover I knew this was the book I should read.  
I found this statement when I turned the book over to the back cover: 

"With the first cup of tea you are a stranger.  
With the second...a friend.  
With the third cup of tea, you are family."

This title summarizes his journey and message of the book and I believe it is the perfect title.

I believe the style writing was certainly accessible to a young reader.  It would be a great addition to a middle school library.

The key idea of this book is about random and not so random acts of kindness.  The Korphe villagers were doing a random act of kindness to help the author in his time of need so far from home.  The author's kindness was in response to their kindness.  And the kindness he has extended and continues to extend to other villages has become his very own "Kindness Chronicles".   

Greg Mortenson wrote in the introduction:

"But there are about 110 million children ages five to fifteen around the world who don't have a chance to learn how to read and write or to go to school."

As I read the introduction and the rest of the book, I was humbled.  I have always been a person to never take my blessings for granted but after reading this book I really thought about every thing I have and possess.

I decided about half way through this book I want to do something to make a difference in my community.  But what can I do?

Finally, after some thought, an idea came to me-

For Christmas this year, I am asking everyone who planned to get me a Christmas gift instead to give me canned food I can deliver to my local food pantry.  I have estimated that if everyone who was going to buy me a gift instead spent that money on canned food, I could possibly collect 50-100 cans.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to find some inspiration in small and big acts of kindness.

Publisher:  Penguin Group
Published:  2009
Amazon Price:  Paperback $8.99
Check your local library too!
ISBN:  978-0-14-241412-5

Adapted by Sarah Thomson       Foreword by Jane Goodall
Includes an Interview with Greg's Mortenson's 12 year old daughter, Amira Mortenson

Also includes:
Regional Map

Please visit Greg Mortenson's non-profit website:

Also check out the service-learning program of Central Asia Institute:

inspired to make a change on this artist holiday,


  1. We've had a pennies for peace jar on our counter for a couple of years now. Spare change goes in the jar until it's full then a trip to the coin machine at the bank results in a check to support education for children who had no chance. There was controversy about the organization and a lawsuit that has since been dismissed by a judge due to lack of evidence. I sort of think the new people just wanted something else to have good ratings so they cooked up a story.

    anyway - kudos to you! You are a light in the world for caring and doing something about it!

  2. What a moving review. I will have to read this book, sounds like a life changer. i agree with you, the title is great.