This week in our 4th and 5th grade library classes we read Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham. It is one of the Maine Student Book Awards which will be part of the Battle of the Books, so now all of our potential Battle participants have read at least one book!
Cloud Tea Monkeys is a truly beautiful book, in both its words and illustrations. Peet and Graham tell the story of young Tashi, daughter of a tea picker who lives in the Himalayas. When Tashi's mother becomes sick and can not work, Tashi goes to the tea plantation with the intention of picking tea herself. The tea basket is too heavy and she is too small, however, and she takes shelter under a big tree and simply sits and cries.
Lucky for her, though, she has some unexpected friends. The monkeys that live on the plantation make off with her basket and fill it to the brim with beautiful, emerald-green tea leaves. Unbeknownst to Tashi, these leaves are very, very special and they change her life forever.
Cloud Tea Monkeys got rave reviews from the PES 4th and 5th graders. If you haven't read it yet, it is a great story for all ages!