Wednesday, September 28, 2011
DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT!!
For those of you that have never heard of Reading Rainbow,it was a PBS children's TV series hosted by Levar Burton. It was one of our favorite shows. Each episode centered on a theme from a book which was explored through a number of stories. The show also provided book recommendations for kids to look for when they went to the library and the show ended with the slogan: "Don't take my word for it!". I remember taking Elliott to the library when he was about 4 and he would ask for "The life cycle of the honey bee by Paula Hogan" or "A Chair for my Mother by Vera B Williams". I was just amazed. In honor of that show, I thought that maybe I would do a RR-style blog centered on a book that you will hopefully ask for at your local library. But don't take my word for it!!
The NY bestseller that has captured me is: Lost in Shangra-La. "A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II." A plane carrying 24 members of the military, crashed into the New Guinea jungle during a sightseeing excursion. The three survivors were stranded deep in a jungle valley notorious for its cannibalistic tribes. Or as the author put it, “crash-landed in a world that time didn’t forget. Time never knew it existed.”
This is a riveting story and captured my interest because in 1973, my mom,brother and I made a visit to this "cannibal valley"-or Baliem Valley. The only way in, to this day, is still by airplane. It is a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and occupied by the Dani people-a stone age gentle and peaceful tribe that has survived into the 20th century. Primitive in many ways, but agriculturally very advanced with large cultivated gardens of huge cabbages, sweet potatoes and beans. The outside world hadn't totally gotten to it yet. . . yet.
One of the locals told us he would take us to see a "mummy" in another village not too far away. We began walking. . . and walking. . . and 2 1/2 hours later, after passing many villages, arrived at the "mummy village". Then they wouldn't show it to us, unless we paid some money. (Primitive, but understand a commercial opportunity) I did find the mummy unique---"old man pickin' his toes" I wrote in my diary. Jerry had brought his Polaroid camera and took a picture of the chief. The expressions on their faces when they watched the picture emerge was priceless. They crowded around and scrutinized it carefully and there was an anxious moment as the chief looked at it. . . . then he finally broke into a broad grin. SAFE!
So I hope you will pick up this book and read about the history of the Valley!