Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Snow Leopard Dream

The Snow Leopard Dream
written in collaboration with Rokhshana Girls' School Students, Afghanistan; illustrated by Buth Sonrin and Roeun Sokhum
2011 (Dot-to-Dot Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

The Snow Leopard Dream is a unique collaboration with the story generated by a writing competition led by the nonprofit Help the Afghan Children (HTAC). Twelve Afghan girls created this story about the endangered snow leopard. In the story, a girl in a small Afghan village asks her father about the snow leopard that lives at the top of a steep mountain. He tells her not to worry about the leopard and to get some rest. She drifts off to sleep and dreams that she and her father have traveled up the mountain. They are lacking food, so he leaves her at the tent as he goes off to find food. Later, the girl hears a loud snap and follows the sound up the mountain. The snow leopard has been caught in a trap and is freed by the girl. After being freed, the leopard leaves the girl and she begins to descend down the ledge. She is trapped by a pack of wolves and receives help from a surprising source.

This book is the result of a initiative by Dot-to-Dot to develop the creativity of children to help the cause of endangered animals (Endangered Species, Empowered Communities). In the back matter, you get information about snow leopards, Afghanistan, the girls' school, and HTAC. I think this story can send a message to children that books can change lives. The Snow Leopard Dream would be a good text to read before writing stories that you want to publish for display.  Children can see that other kids have published their stories. You also get a story in a setting that our students have heard about (Afghanistan), but have little knowledge. Graphic organizers could be used to compare the two cultures. A percentage of the profits from this book will go to Help the Afghan Children and for the conservation of snow leopards.

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