The Mysteries of Angkor Wat Richard Sobol
When Sobol lived out a life-long dream to photograph the ancient ruins at Angkor Wat, he found something completely unexpected. When he gets to the temple complex, he is surrounded by children selling souvenirs. Anyone who's been to a developing nation tourist destination is used to this swarm of kids. Instead of pushing through, he takes their photograph and asks them to show him their favorite spot in the ruins. They will if show them their special dee no soo he comes back to see them. Sobol asks everyone and no one knows what the dee no soo is.
The book then delves further into the life of the children who grow up around the complex-- their school day (they start learning English early so they can more easily talk with international tourists) games they play, and extra-curriculars (like traditional dance classes.)
Eventually, he finds the kids again and they take him to see the super-special dee no soo. I won't say what it is, but it's so amazingly awesome. It's a something tourists won't see and it's something that only a kid would notice. It's perfect.
By focusing on the children, Sobol makes this book very kid-friendly. It's not a report book on Angkor Wat, but a great story about modern kids growing up next to something ancient. At the same time, there's great information and photographs introducing the Cambodian temple complex to readers. I love that he stopped to talk to the kids and thought to ask them what their favorite part of the complex was-- he discovered something he never would have seen.
The whole thing is really very cool.
Today's Nonfiction Roundup is over at A Curious Thing.
Book Provided by... my local library
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