Yaks and Yetis: Exploring Everest for Kids through Books

Make Everest for kids fun by sharing books on Himalayan culture + myth (Yaks and Yetis).

What's a good way to explore Everest for kids?

This is something I've been asking myself ever since Money Prodigy was awarded The PLUTUS Foundation grant in order to create + deliver the Mt. Everest Money Simulation Program to kids.

Psst: Perhaps you'd love for your own kid to get in on the adventure? You'll want to click the image below to subscribe and I'll be sure to keep you updated first about how the Mt. Everest Money Simulation progresses.

Just like with most anything else in life, I've turned to books.

Why Yaks and Yetis?

Besides the fact that these are possibly the two coolest “y” words in the English language?

Yaks and Yetis both provide a lot of cultural color to Mt. Everest.

Yaks are integral to both Everest expeditions and to the Sherpa people. The trek to Everest + the area where the Sherpa people live is really rugged, so wheels aren't a good option. Yaks provide transportation for things like building materials, trekking gear, sick people, mail, etc. Not only that, but the Sherpa people have incorporated a variety of yak products − yak butter, wool, dung for fuel, meat, yak cheese, etc. − into their everyday lives.

And Yetis? It turns out that they were a protected species until 1958, and one country in the Himalayan region, Bhutan, still has a Yeti sanctuary (the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary). So who are we to say they don't exist?

I'll continue on in creation mode, excitedly piecing together the Mt. Everest Money Simulation (it's gonna be a pretty wild ride!).

But in the meantime, I've curated a list of Yak and Yeti books below (on top of my original list of kid's Everest books) I've personally read to get you + your child excited about this money simulation.

Bonus: Use this list to bring some heat relief during a summer reading program, to enjoy with year-round reading programs for kids, to cultivate your child's imagination, before heading out on a hike or to the rock climbing gym, etc.

Book #1: No Yeti Yet, Mary Ann Fraser

Age Range: 2-5 years

This is a super cute, well-illustrated book about a brother taking his younger sister on a Yeti hunt out in the snow. The younger sister has all kinds of questions for him, and while they traverse the great outdoors, the Yeti follows them around in a charming way.

Your kiddo will have fun pointing that out on every page, despite the characters not realizing it until halfway through the book!

Life Lesson(s):  Sometimes what you're looking for is right under your  nose…or sledding right behind you.

Book #2: The Thing About Yetis, Vin Vogel

Age Range: 3-5 years

If you're looking for a Yeti that more closely resembles a cute pet than the abominable snowman, then you found it. This little guy just loves winter. He loves hot chocolate (with tons of marshmallows, of course), and ice-skating “Yeti-style”, and all kinds of winter activities.

The secret he has? Well, he also happens to miss summer from time to time.

Life Lesson(s): This is a book about making the most of your current situation, whether that be a season you're getting tired of, or whatever else in life.

Book #3: Are We There, Yeti?, Ashlyn Anstee

Age Range: 3-6 years

This book features a marshmallow-like Yeti who is very friendly, and invites kids along on a bus trip to meet some other very friendly Yetis. The kids and kid-yetis all play together doing things like building snowballs, sledding, and making snow angels (maybe they should be called snow yetis at this point?).

It's got me saying over and over again to my husband, “are you ready, yeti?”

Super cute book.

Life Lesson(s): Some things are worth waiting for!

Book #4: Namaste!, Diana Cohn

Age Range: 3-7 years

Nima, an Everest Guide's daughter, takes your kid into the life of a Sherpa family. Her father works once a year for several weeks at a time, and one of the ways he and his daughter get reacquainted is by telling one another  a story each time he returns.

One of the ways she brings joy into the world is by sprightly telling all passersby − even a caravan of yaks and naks (female Yaks) − Namaste, which means, “The light in me meets the light in you.” It's truly an entirely different world, brought alive by very vivid illustrations.

Life Lesson(s):  You can bring so much joy to others' lives with simple acts of kindness.

Book #5: Dear Yeti, James Kwan

Age Range: 4-6 years

There are two hikers looking for a Yeti. They leave him short letters for updates on their progress. The cutest thing is, a very empathetic, snuggly Yeti is following them all along. He helps them out by providing food, and is there for them when they meet with a much less friendly grizzly bear.

Life Lesson (s):  Friends come in all shapes and sizes.

Book #6: Uncle Bigfoot, George O' Connor

Age Range: 4-8 years

Okay, okay, so not exactly a yeti. But it's an endearing book about a kid who suspects his Uncle Bernie is actually a Bigfoot. After all, he's got hair in lots of places, a big belly, has huge feet and doesn't ever wear shoes (probably sounds like someone we all know in life)!

Life Lesson(s): Don't be too fast to jump to conclusions.

Book #7: Kami and the Yaks, Andrea Stenn Stryer and Bert Dodson

Age Range: 4-8 years

Kami's father and older brother, Norgay, work as Sherpas on Everest expeditions, giving your kiddo an interesting, non-western perspective about the lives of people who make Everest summits possible.

For their next expedition, they go searching for their four yaks in order to load them up for the trek. Unfortunately, they can't find them.

When Kami, who is deaf, uses a whistle to call the yak Curly Horn, I had memories of my own childhood on our farm when we had a specific cow call to round them up for the evening milking.

He ends up saving the day + earning his family's pride and respect.

Life Lesson(s): When you know that someone or something is in real danger, keep trying to tell people until they're ready to listen. Also, you have real value to others, even if you're not like everyone else. Even if you're really young, like Kami!

Book #8: Snowbound Secrets, Virginia Knoll & Nivola Uyá

Age Range: 5+ years

Can I just say how much I love the illustration colors in this book? I look at it and feel calm…which is funny considering there is a big yeti on the cover.

Wait…there's yaks too!

Transport your child to a world completely different from their own — Bhutan — with yak-herding, big brothers teasing their little sisters about yetis getting them, black-necked cranes, and trail-trekking.

Spoiler alert: Pem does not get eaten by the yeti.

Life Lesson(s): Everyone, including yetis, are at heart just trying to raise good children and protect their families. It's something we can all connect with on at a deeper level, no matter if we're hairy monsters, kids living on a mountain in Bhutan, or if we live in Galveston.

Book #9: Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas, Naomi C. Rose

Age Range: 6-11 years

This is a collection of three wise tales from Tibetan culture, complete with a foreword from the Dalai Lama + actual Tibetan writing along with the translation.

These are timeless tales, and I love that about them. For example, in Yeshi's Luck, Yeshi learns the importance of remaining calm within yourself no matter what happens in the outside world. Other life lessons are below.

Life Lesson(s): Hold tight to your faith, whatever it may be, so that you can remain peaceful in your mind despite what life throws you. Go with the flow. Face your fears with love and kindness, and you will become free to “love and let be.” And in helping others, we almost always help ourselves.

Book #10: The Animals of Asia: Yaks, Willow Clark

Age Range: 7-10 years

Did you know there are both wild yaks and domestic yaks? Wild yaks are brown, and live in Northern India as well as the Tibetan Plateau. Domestic yaks are all kinds of colors, and have been raised by the Tibetan people plus people of Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, etc. for thousands of years.

It turns out that the wild yak is considered a vulnerable species, and are extinct already in Nepal as well as Bhutan. They live at an elevation of around 14,800 feet in alpine meadows, alpine steppes, and desert steppes, and can withstand temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit! In fact, because of their wooly hair, they start overheating at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Life Lesson(s): This book reads like a kid-friendly textbook, and not necessarily one full of life lessons.

Book #11: Mysteries of Giant Humanlike Creatures, Kathryn Walker

Age Range: 8-11 years

Looking for a fun, monster encyclopedia-type book for your kiddo? This might be it, at least as far as human-looking monsters are concerned. There are about six pages dedicated to the yeti, with some interesting historical information about sightings from a variety of sources + some great photos. You'll even learn why we call the yeti the Abominable Snowman, and how it's a mistranslation.

Life Lesson(s):  Not sure that this book necessarily has a life lesson, except to be both skeptical + open-minded when determining if something is true.

Book #12: An Accidental Adventure: We Are Not Eaten by Yaks, C. Alexander London

Age Range: 8-12 years

Walk into the lives of a most interesting family, where the 11-year old twins are addicted to television and think watching it is their birthright, and the parents are uber-adventurists with little regard for what their kids want (which might be why their kids are very against anything doing with adventure!).

Their mother has disappeared, and they head with their father to Tibet to go find her. There's lots of Himalayan adventure, including monks, yaks, yetis, etc.

Someone on Amazon wrote that this book is Indiana Jones meets Lemony Snicket, and I think that's the perfect way to describe what you're getting.

Life Lesson(s): Hmmm…I hate to say it, but the parents need to learn to be better parents, and the kids need to learn how to turn the television off and live life. Some of this plays out in the book with the characters learning from their mistakes, but mainly the reader needs to come up with these lessons by watching this story unfold.

Book #13: The Abominables, Eva Ibbotson

Age Range: 9-12 years

Lady Agatha is whisked away to the Nanvi Dar valley one night by a male yeti from the tent she's sleeping in with her own father. The male yeti has three yeti babies, and no mother to raise them. She immediately realizes this, and gleefully takes on the task of teaching them all things proper (at least in English society). One of the babies even takes a yak for a pet!

Agatha gets worried as more and more tourists come to the Himalayan mountains. Suppose they put her yetis into a zoo? Or make them part of a circus act?

I really like the writing in this book, aside from the very interesting scenarios. Great for expanding the imagination (whether you're a kid or an adult!).

Life Lesson(s): This book really highlights human rights + helping one another out, whether you're human or not.

Book #14: Sammy Feral's Diaries of Weird: Yeti Rescue, Eleanor Hawken

Age Range: 12-17 years

If you're looking for weird, this is it. In a fun way! There's an acid-spitting, Mongolian Death Worm who lost his best friend, Bert, who happens to be Chief Yeti. He ends up finding Sammy Feral, whose family are ex-werewolves and own the crazy Feral Zoo, because they happen to have the last known Wish Frog in existence.

…see what I mean?

Their plan to get the Yeti back? They need to find a yeti to put out a yeti call, which will summon the Ministry of Yetis from around the world, who then will be able to find Bert.

What I like about this book is the humor, and the complete silliness that is accepted as part of Sammy's everyday life.

Note: this is book #2 in a series of books, but I was able to follow along from the beginning without having read book #1 in the series.

Life Lesson(s): I love how everyone's very unique and sometimes strange talents are played out in this book. Your unique talents, and everyone else's have a purpose.

Yaks and Yetis: Exploring Everest for Kids through Books. Would make a fun addition to get kids excited for VBS expeditions! | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/yetis-exploring-everest-for-kids/

Ignite the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Your Child with this Lesson Plan

Kidpreneur ideas like this one will help you stomp-out allowance advances. Ignite that entrepreneurial spirit in your children! Super helpful skill whether your kid joins the kid entrepreneurs club OR works for someone else. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/ignite-entrepreneurial-spirit-child-lesson-plan/

Your kid has much to gain when they ignite their entrepreneurial spirit. Use this system, and you might just gain from it as well!

Entrepreneurs, among other qualities, need to be able to recognize opportunities in the marketplace. This means finding a need, and figuring out how to solve that need in a profitable way.

This can be as simple as a kidpreneur/kidpreneurship (or kidpreneur-in-the-making) opening a lemonade stand on a smoldering July day near a construction site, and as complicated as creating a machine knob specifically for tea growers in Japan.

And having this ability doesn't have to result in a person starting their own business; it works equally as well for your child if they work for someone else in the form of more merit raises, one-time bonuses for one-off projects, promotions, leverage in salary negotiations, etc.

In fact, the skill of recognizing an opportunity, and seizing it by writing my own job description resulted in me snagging my first job out of college (worth an awesome $40,000 + benefits to me at the time). More on that in a bit.

So no matter which path your child pursues as an adult, we want to ignite + foster this skill for them.

I've got a way for you to do just that.

A System for Your Child to Identify a Need in Your Home + Propose a Solution

We want to encourage your child to come to you with things they see that could use improvement, and ways they could add value or provide a solution for you.

Let's go through how to do this.

Step #1: Discuss with your child the idea that people need things + services.

Here's a conversation outline for you with a few blanks to fill in (where underlined):

“People need things and services in their lives. They need things to maintain their health, they need things to make life more enjoyable. They need parts to make repairs to their belongings. They need really cool items to buy as gifts for others. They need better systems or processes to make things work more efficiently, which just means taking less time and less money and getting the same (or better) results. All over the world, people need things. In my own life, three needs that I've satisfied through purchasing something include X, Y, and Z. By purchasing them, they made my life easier because <<FILL IN SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR EACH EXAMPLE YOU GAVE>>. Generally when people need something, they are willing to pay money for the solution. That's why there are so many companies, all which provide products + solutions for people's needs.”

Pssst: Man I wish I could go back 17 years and give myself this talk! Would've saved me several adult years of banging my head against the wall trying to understand how to make money.

Step #2: Task your child with identifying a need around the house/property/car.

What could this look like?

A Few Examples for you + your kiddo:

  • Find a more efficient way to organize the “command center” in your home.
  • Use Google Maps or another program to find a more efficient route for your commute.
  • Organize the wood pile + create newspaper logs that are fireplace-ready.
  • Find a better way to organize/clean/maintain the video game center in your home.
  • Clean out your car (I used to do this for my parents!) + add a car trash can to the back area so that in the future the kids can just use that instead of throwing things on the ground.
  • Introduce a better laundry system for the family's clothes so that they actually all end up in the laundry room, sorted, and ready to be washed.

The possibilities are endless, and specific to what needs your child sees in your family life.

Step #3: Once they've identified a need and come to you with it, you must decide if it's worth it to you to move forward. Don't be afraid if, after they've told you a need they think you have but that you don't actually have, to tell them that it isn't a current need of yours. Hey, the road to success is paved with failed products! This is excellent feedback so that they start to understand their “customer” and dig deeper. Perhaps they'll even start to ask YOU what you want from them!

Step #4: What are both of your expectations for this job so that you know when the job is completed correctly?

Let them tell you what they propose to accomplish and what that would look like.

Then you share what you, as a paying customer, expect in results. Hash this out if need be (just like a real negotiation between a biz and their potential client).

This includes a deadline.

Step #5: Now you need to ask them for a price.

I know, I know. You might be wondering, “why on earth am I going to let my child choose how much I'm willing to pay them for something they want to do around the house? Isn't it MY money?”

I totally get that. But remember that the nature of this lesson is to ignite that entrepreneurial spirit in them. Instead of you offering what you're willing to pay, have them go through the exercise of pricing their efforts. Then the negotiations start.

This sets them up for good negotiation + valuation skills in the future.

Determine the market price you'll pay, which is where their price (the supplier) and your price (based on how much you need what they're offering + a dash of several other things) meets. $__________.

Step #6: Your child completes the work + notifies you.

Step #7: Using the checklist you both created, provide oversight and see if everything is as it was supposed to be.

Step #8: Pay the agreed upon rate once everything is up to par. And if they don't quite complete the project + deliver what they promised, it's up to you whether you want to make a partial payment, or not pay at all (satisfaction guaranteed could be added to this lesson as well).

If your child makes it through this process, then they will have successfully figured out a “market” need, fulfilled it, and gotten paid from their initiative. This is something that will no doubt shape their futures.

And if they don't quite succeed? Well the lessons are vast for all entrepreneurs as they traverse through the mistakes, failures, and successes.

It's really a win-win situation.

Let me show you what I mean, with an example in my own life.

How I Used this Skill Set to Write My Own First Job Offer Worth $40,000 + Benefits

While some of my dorm mates were floundering around trying to find employment, I was busy enjoying my last two months of college before entering the “real world”.

Why is that? Because I had a job waiting for me. And the only reason why I had that job was I spotted a need in a local company, and wrote my way into it.

I had interned for an organization in my small college town, and they ended up building a start-up company set to open its doors sometime around when I was due to graduate. One day I asked them if I could have a full-time job there come June. The director looked at me, and said, “go ahead and write up a job description of what you propose you would do here. Then we'll see.”

So I went back to my college dorm and worked on a job description. I thought about what the company was trying to achieve, and tied this into what I wanted to do with my life (at least what I thought I wanted to do at the time).

I wish I had saved a copy of the actual job description, but my sharp memory tells me it went something like this:

“Amanda L. Grossman will be the International Marketing & Sales contact at Chesapeake Fields. The International Marketing & Sales Person is responsible for researching new markets around the world where Chesapeake Fields' products would be well received. Primary responsibilities include understanding these markets, making contact with potential wholesalers and distributors, sending samples, and being the brand ambassador for Chesapeake Fields within these markets.”

With one minor change − they put sales in front of marketing in my job title − I got an offer from them for $40,000 + benefits to do just that. Within the one year I worked there, I ended up negotiating an initial container load of $27,000 worth of our product to a major food retailer in Taiwan.

Unfortunately, my job AND that company went under not long after my first and only year there. But writing my way into a company right out of college based on a need I saw that I could fill? Well that was enough to impress future employers who then hired me.

See how lucrative learning this skill could be for your child? I'd love to hear below what needs (perceived or actual ones) your child comes up with to fulfill.

5 Screen Free Family Activities that Will Cost You $5 or Less

5 family activities at home. These screen free activities are for both kids and adults! Great ideas to use with screen free week. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/5-screen-free-family-activities-will-cost-5-less/

I'm sharing 5 family activities that don't involve a screen.

I read somewhere that I'm part of the Oregon Trail generation. Anna Garvey puts it beautifully when she says, “[we] came of age just as the very essence of communication was experiencing a seismic shift, and it's given us a unique perspective that's half analog old school and half digital new school.”

It's a perspective that has gone the way of Donkey Kong + 7th-grade love notes (you know, the handwritten kind).

Which makes  me a little sad, because the best moments of my childhood had nothing to do with a screen.

That's why I prioritize + value screen free personal and family time.

Yes, there's a time and place for technology and it's done some wonders for us. But let's also use it in moderation, right?

Here are 5 screen-free family activities that will cost you less than $5 and will engage everyone.

Screen Free Family Activity #1: Listen to an Audio Book or Kids' Podcast

Light a fire, bring out some hot beverages (or not if you've got weeeee-little ones, like our 17-month old), and tune into a free family-friendly audio book/radio drama. You can also check out a kid podcast for stories and lots of other cool things.

Psst: Since it's screen free time, make sure you don't leave your laptop facing everyone (that's a screen!) and/or turn your smart phone's screen facing down. You can also just hide the screens behind something to keep the screen-free ambience going.

Screen Free Family Activity #2: Work on a Family Charity Project

There are multiple charity projects your family can sit down to do together at home that will help others in need. Here are a few charity family activities ideas:

  • Clip Coupons for Military Families: Ask your family and friends to save their coupon inserts (even their expired ones; military personnel may use coupons expired up to 6 months!), then every few months sit down as a family and clip all the coupons out together. Together, pick out a military base from around the world where you'd like to send them to to benefit military families. Be sure to mail them off in time (bonus: sending mail through a military address costs less than regular international mail).
  • Send Strangers Happy Cards: The Post Card Happiness Project is all about writing a cheerful, encouraging post cards to people going through difficult times. Choose someone from the website, print out their info (so that you can go screen-free during the actual letter writing), then send off your drop of happiness.
  • Cheer up Sick People: Reach out to ill and lonely people across America by writing them thoughtful cards. Send one, commit to sending monthly, or send in bulk. Print out the directions ahead of time so that, again, you can go screen-free come family time.

Screen Free Family Activity #3: Family Stargazing

Family activities that involve the vast, unexplored sky? I'm in.

You'll need a few tools to really set up a stargazing experience that's out of this world.

Screen Free Family Activity #4: Play Hilarious Rounds of Mad Libs

I'm in love with Mad Libs! We take them on our road trips, and occasionally break them out at home. What a fun way to raise the gigglarity of any situation, reinforce words and grammar, plus get away from those screens.

If you haven't heard of Mad Libs? They're little stories or scenarios with certain words taken out. You then ask another person (or persons) to give you a word that falls in a particular category so that it will make sense (kinda) when you reread the story out loud (like, give me a noun, or a verb).

Some free Mad Libs pages for you to print out ahead of time:

Screen Free Family Activity #5: Become Citizen Scientists

There are several programs out there that are asking for people to contribute to from home. How exciting that you + your little ones can be part of science data collection that will help people's initiatives and the future of our earth!

  • Citizen Science Soil Collection program: The University of Oklahoma is looking to partner with lots of people to find soil fungi from across the United States that produce drug-like compounds called natural products. Request a free sampling kit, and grab some soil from your backyard together.
  • Bumble Bee Watch Citizen Science Project: There's a dwindling bumble bee population in the United States. By taking photos of bumble bees and starting a virtual bumble bee collection, you help scientists determine status and conservation needs plus help locate rare or endangered species.
  • BudBurst Project: This project is all about gathering observations and data about how plants change through the season. After some initial training online, you can print out forms and observe specific plants in your backyard. You're looking for things like the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting phases of plants. Then you sign back in and record your observations.
  • Become Certified NestWatchers: Be part of the reproductive biology of birds' database. After you get certified, take note of any nests in your backyard. Visit the nest every 3-4 days to observe changes, and be sure to record them.
  • Project FeederWatch: Put up a bird feeder (you could make a homemade version as part of your family time!), then monitor and record which birds come around. Enter the data

Wow, I'm ridiculously excited to try these family activities out with my own kiddo (once he gets past the put-eveything-into-his-mouth phase, of course).

Please share your own favorite screen-free family activities in the comments below so we all can benefit.