When I first started thinking about a picture book about Mount Everest, I thought it was going to be a poetry collection. I read a lot about Everest and the Himalaya region—all kinds of books. Stephen Alter’s Wild Himalaya made me think this might be a sort of natural history of Mount Everest—in poems!
Oh, I was in love with that idea! Poems about the geology of the mountain’s formation, the people who live in the Khumbu region of Everest, the climbers, the man for whom the mountain was named, the arduous process that led to its naming, the antics of a little spider that lives above the tree-line where there’s nothing for it to eat. I was in love with all of this research. I was as lightheaded as if I were reaching the heights of Everest myself.
In fact, during that time, my husband and I did go hiking in Nepal: and in between being dizzy from the altitude and exhausted by 16-22 km of hiking daily, I was also intoxicated by the possibilities of these poems.
When we got back from that trip, I wrote 22 poems.
Here’s one of them:
Highest of …