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Children's Fiction General

Two at the Top

A Shared Dream of Everest

by (author) Uma Krishnaswami

illustrated by Christopher Corr

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
General, General, Asia, Environment
Recommended Age
3 to 6
Recommended Grade
p to 1
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2024
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary each tell their story, culminating in their thrilling ascent of Mount Everest.

Tenzing Norgay grew up in Nepal, herding yaks in the shadow of Chomolungma, the mountain also known as Everest. He has always dreamed of climbing to the top. He becomes a guide, leading treks through the Himalayas, and finally attempts the highest mountain himself, but doesn’t make it.

Across the ocean, in New Zealand, Edmund Hillary grew up tending his father’s bees. He climbed his first mountain at sixteen and has climbed all over the world ever since. He tries Everest, with no success.

In 1953, the two men set out on the same expedition to climb Everest. Their party numbers four hundred, counting all the guides and porters. But the climb is grueling, and eventually Norgay and Hillary are the only two determined to continue. They tramp over windswept glaciers, crawl across rope bridges, hack footholds in the ice … until finally they reach the top of the world!

This remarkable true adventure story, told in a dual narrative, includes illustrated backmatter rich in geography, history and science.


Key Text Features

author’s note



further reading

historical context



Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

About the authors

Uma Krishnaswami's inspiration for this book came from her memory of planting a mango seed as a child and seeing it grow into a tree, and also from a news story about people who planted trees in potholes. She has written many children's books, from picture books to middle grade readers to retellings of classic tales and myths, including Bringing Asha Home (CCBC Choices), The Happiest Tree (Paterson Prize finalist, CCBC Choices, Bank Street College Best Books), Naming Maya (IRA Notable Books for a Global Society) and Chachaji's Cup (Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Bank Street College Best Books). Her latest middle grade novel, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, published by Atheneum, received starred reviews in Kirkus and School Library Journal. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is an active blogger. Uma was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico.

Uma Krishnaswami's profile page

CHRISTOPHER CORR received an MA in illustration from the Royal College of Art in London, England, where he continues to live, teach, paint and work in animation and book illustration. He has illustrated books for publishers all over the world, including The Goggle-Eyed Goats by Stephen Davies. Christopher's travels in the Himalayas have inspired his art for this book. He is currently working on a series of large paintings for The Campaign for Wool, and he also holds gallery exhibitions of his work.


Christopher Corr's profile page


  • Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year

Editorial Reviews

The book may inspire young readers to aim for their own incredible dreams.

Winnipeg Free Press

[A] lyrical, clear, and narratively sophisticated picture book. STARRED REVIEW

Kirkus Reviews

Colourful and engaging.

Cloud Lake Literary

A great choice for biography sections needing fresh perspectives on historical figures. STARRED REVIEW

School Library Journal

An inspiring book for young adventurers.

Calgary Herald

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