Monday, December 21, 2015

Non-fiction Monday: No Summit Out of Sight by Jordan Romero

No Summit Out of Sight: the true story of the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits by Jordan Romero with Linda LeBlanc. 355 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May, 2014. 9781476709628. (purchased)

In May of 2010, Romero became the youngest person to climb the seven (eight) highest summits on each continent. There is some dispute over which the Australian summit is, so he did both. This dream was inspired by a mural of the seven summits that he saw at his school when he was nine. With the help of his father and stepmother, who are professional "extreme" athletes, Romero trained to become a mountain climber. 

He began with Kilimanjaro, and, at age ten set the record for as the youngest to climb the mountain. He broke records for most of his climbs save for one. He methodically and earnestly chronicles each climb, including the type of training he had to undergo, and the fundraising he did,  through the sometimes grueling application for climbing permits, to the successful summit. Along the way, he also takes time to describe the people and culture of each place. 

While the young man is to be admired for his accomplishments and his tenacity, there is a bit of smug superiority in the telling and an awful lot of boring in between the summits. There weren't many photos either. His team, made up of his dad and stepmother and some rotating athlete friends, was perfect. His mom stayed happily at home worrying and cheering. The sponsors were altruistic. There was no conflict. No ulterior motives. The few moments of self-doubt were magicked away by a pep talk from his stepmother. All the other teams paled in comparison to their lean, mean climbing machine. It all got a little twee for me.

Still. The dude climbed all those mountains and wrote his story. Teen readers will be inspired and his healthy eating/ exercise message is a good one. A worthy addition - particularly is memoirs is covered by your LA department as my students have to read one in eighth grad. 

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