Monday, February 23, 2009

Mountain climbing adventure: Peak, by Roland Smith

Imagine climbing the tallest mountain in the world. At the age of 15. Gasping for oxygen, wondering if you can take one more step. Peak, by Roland Smith, is a great adventure story that is perfect for the kid who wants to read a realistic story. When I finished this book, I was convinced that it was a true story. It is fiction, but definitely realistic and exciting.
Peak, by Roland Smith
Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., c2007.
also on audio from Recorded Books
ages 12 and up
Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello is a natural-born climber. After he is caught climbing the Woolworth Building in New York, he escapes a jail sentence by going to live with his famous mountaineer father. Peak soon learns that his father hopes that Peak will become the youngest person ever to climb Mt. Everest.

Smith includes plenty of mountaineering details (particularly creepy is his description of the frozen corpses that litter the mountain). But he also explores other issues, such as coming to terms with his father's selfishness.

The audio version was clear and compelling - a great book to listen to with kids ages 10 and up. Available at the Oakland Public Library, the Berkeley Public Library and

I'm excited to read Smith's recent novel, Elephant Run - set in Burma during World War II.

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