Update 29 April 2015:
We have now added an Educator’s Guide to Namaste! to our Book Based Activities page.
As the horrors of the earthquakes and avalanches of Nepal continue to be revealed, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty and heart of the country as it was before.
Steiner Books’ Namasté is now available in paperback. With a simple story by Diana Cohn and glorious art by Pura Belpré honoree Amy Córdova, it follows a young girl encountering the people in her village with a familiar greeting. “Namasté” is much more than something to say at the close of a yoga class: it is a recognition that each of us have a divine spark and that, together, those sparks can light up the world.
Namasté provides a glimpse into a Nepalese village from a child’s perspective. Nima Sherpa’s father is a mountain guide and he loves to tell his daughter about his adventures on Chomolongma, a mountain we know as Mt. Everest. We see her father prepare to go to work as the family prays for his safety. In the book, Nima hopes that one day she can be a sherpa and help people from all over the world navigate the magnificent mountain that reaches through the clouds.
As I looked through the book again, I found myself hoping that Nima Sherpa, and all children like her, did not follow in their sherpa fathers’ footsteps–that they are all safe in their villages, away from tumbling avalanches that wipe out everything in their paths. Yet, even those villages are rocked by the earthquake and its aftershocks. It is likely that the Nimas of the world, if they are still in the world, are to be found on every available grassy spot in Kathmandu.
Even in the midst of the chaos and the devastation, I like to think of a small girl greeting those she encounters with “Namaste,” remembering her mother’s words that “When you say Namaste, try to see the special spark of light that shines within every person’s heart.” May that spark glow and strengthen in the difficult days to come.
by Diana Cohn, illustrate by Amy Córdova
Published by Steiner Books
Paperback, $9.95 (9781621480051)