First printed in Japan in 1995, this first title in the Yamo's Village Series introduces young readers to the village of Paghman in the springtime when all of the fruit trees are in bloom. Plums, cherries, pistachios, and pears fill the gentle breezes with delightful scents. Summer comes to the peaceful village and harvest brings the happiest time of the year. This year, Yamo's older brother Haroon is fighting in the war that has broken out in Afghanistan, so Yamo will have to take his place at his father's side bringing the harvest to town. Heavy baskets are loaded on Pompa the donkey's back and villagers wish them well on their journey. In town, vendors sell a variety of wares, including sheep, beans, shish kebab, and bread. Yamo's father sells the plums in the plaza and Yamo and Pompa set off down narrow streets. At first he finds no sales, but soon a steady stream of customers buys his sweet cherries. When he returns to his father, he is promised a surprise if all the plums sell too. Successful, father buys a pure white sheep with their profits. Yamo is allowed to name the lamb and he calls it Bahaar, which means "spring." Yamo sends a silent plea for his brother to come home quickly and safely before spring. Kobayashi, who often visits Islamic countries, concludes the book with a message for those who would like to know more about the village and a description of a trip to the village which inspired him to write this book. Students need to experience what life is like in other parts of the world, especially in war-torn areas. This moving portrayal of life in an Afghan village is a wonderful addition to social studies materials that will help encourage discussion.
The Most Beautiful Village in the World
Author(s): Yutaka Kobayashi
Publisher: Museyon Inc.
Copyright Year: 2018
Reviewer: Anne Bozievich
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 3-5
Review Date: January 1, 2019
A young boy, Yamo, lives in the Afghan village of Paghman. The peaceful village is surrounded by the bounty of nature. Fruit trees burst into bloom in the spring, and in the summer, Yamo's whole family joins in harvesting apricots, plums, and cherries—breaking into song as they pick. This year, for the first time, Yamo goes to the market in town to sell their harvest with his father. He is filling in for his older brother, who is off fighting in the war. After they have sold their fruit, his father uses the income to buy a white baby lamb. Readers will feel experience the deep love of the family, enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the landscape, and vivid activities at the town market. Then on the final page, readers will be stunned to learn: "This winter, my village was destroyed by the war, and now it's all gone." This book, the first of three in the Yamo's Village series, leads the young reader to think in real terms about the meaning of war and its impact. And they understand that there used to be many beautiful villages in Afghanistan.
Series Title: Yamo's Village Series
Media Type: Book, eBook
Sub-Genre: Realistic Fiction