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How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion
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How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  433 ratings  ·  100 reviews
From Ashima Shiraishi, one of the world's youngest and most skilled climbers, comes a true story of strength and perseverence--in rock-climbing and in life.

To a rock climber, a boulder is called a "problem," and you solve it by climbing to the top. There are twists and turns, falls and scrapes, and obstacles that seem insurmountable until you learn to see the possibilities
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Make Me a World
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like the concept of the book, showing how the "problems" (what rock climbers call a boulder) can be related to other "problems" (challenges one faces in life). However, the way the book is written and illustrated, I just think that connection is going to be too abstract for most young readers. The illustrations are cool and inventive, but, again, a bit mystifying. I thought it was neat the way Shiraishi likens different parts in the boulder to different things from her life, one part that stic ...more
Kerri Anne
This book is gorgeous from start to finish—wonderfully illustrated and featuring a meaningful story simply told. I bought this book for my niece's birthday and it moved to tears.

I would happily read an entire series like this about/written by Shiraishi.

[Five stars for (amazing climbers who are also child prodigies, yes! &) perpetually learning how to reframe problems.]
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely book, too short. Thank you Alan! I'm looking forward to reading it to the Shamsa children once we have some respite from this physical distancing : )

Also looking forward to giving you your copy!
Ms. Arca
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concept/ Message 5
Writing 3..
Art 5!

Perfect for the classroom - can see this as an easy entry point into so many social emotional convos and projects.

Awesome to have girl Japanese teen badassery rep if I do say so myself, too.

Thanks mom! (She bought it for me).
Olivia VanDamme
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a climber, I have been following Ashima’s story and success in climbing for many years. This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book. Her sharing of the creative ways she connects her boulder problems to problems that happen in life is very relatable and why so many of us like climbing. Being a creative problem solver, trusting your body and connecting with nature and who you are- beautiful book!
Connie T.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book, concept
Overall, I'm unimpressed. There's isn't enough personal information here to count as a biography or to give readers a real sense of what it's like to be a rock climber. Similarly, I think the metaphor of problem solving is vague. The way the author named parts of a rock face (elbow, folds, etc) and the way they were illustrated seemed confusing. ...more
Dwan Dawson-Tape
Gorgeously illustrated and inspiring. This would be a no-brainer graduation gift!
I loved this one for several reasons. It's fantastic to show that solving a problem can take multiple efforts and you can learn from each try even if it hasn't completely solved the problem. This would be great for teaching the growth mindset. It's also fabulous to see a young person excelling at something so tough.

When I was a child we would go to the coast and climb or boulder on the rocks and cliffs. A few months ago I started working out in a climbing gym and even took a few classes. It's f
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a remarkable young woman and story. Beautiful, colorful illustrations and I love the book's theme of problem solving, discipline, and perseverance. A young Karissa would have been enthralled by this book since my first answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was "A rock climber." I will definitely be buying this book for my nephews and nieces, especially since the book's dedication is to her Aunt Kay for teaching her to believe. Auntie Kay is what the little ones call me s ...more
Abby Johnson
Love, love, love. This is a great book about tackling problems and never giving up. Wrapped up in a personal story about rock climbing, it's really a good blueprint for solving problems and has a really great way of looking at falls and failures - pick yourself back up and look at the new information you learned from that fall. This would be a great classroom read aloud or a great book to share with anyone with problems (which is all of us, yeah?). ...more
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kerr found this for her niece...and I have to say, it's pretty much perfect and we need far more books like it. (Also, if you don't know Shiraishi, you should look her up. She's a badass and one of the best climbers in the world today regardless of age or gender.) ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A poetic analogy of what it takes to overcome challenges and rise stronger.
Fiona Mackie
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: primary, read-aloud, y7-8
Would make an excellent read aloud for Y2-8. Themes of resilience, perseverance, problem solving - perfect for anyone who is doing Habits of Mind with their students.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
How to Solve a Problem : The Rise (and falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi, illustrations by Yao Xiao, PICTURE BOOK Make Me World (Penguin Random House), 2020. $18. 9781524773274



Ashima Shiraishi is a rock climbing champion. She calls it solving problems. When she looks at a rock or boulder, she sees the problems that need to be solved so she can climb it - she maps out the problem in her head and learns from he
Mary Lee
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of an AMAZING young rock climber, but it is also a guide to a mindful, persevering approach to any kind of problem in your life.

I was a rock climber a few lifetimes ago, which adds to my amazement at what Ashima Shiraishi has accomplished in her 10 years of climbing (age 6-16).
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent story based on the author's experience as an award-winning rock climber. I am loving the new Make Me a World imprint! ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
WOW. A powerful book authored by the fifteen-year-old, international rock climbing champion/professional/elite Ashima Shiraishi.

I am Ashima.
What I do is climb.
What I do is solve problems,
which is to say, I make them mine.

We climbers call our boulders problems.
We also call our problems problems--and to solve them both is sort of the same.

Then readers get to follow Ashima as she confronts and figures out how to climb Golden Shadow in Rocklands, South Africa. While we watch her figure this out, As
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ashima is one of the best rock climbers in the world. Here, she shows how climbers take on the problems (or obstacles in the rock) in front of them. In this book, the problem she shares is the Golden Shadow in Rocklands, South Africa, which she climbed successfully at age 13. Ashima visualized her approach, clapped her hands full of chalk, mapped out each step in her head, and started her climb. Some parts of the rock, she named after different things in her life: her mother’s fabrics and her fa ...more
One really nice thing that happened to me in the past weeks was that I won my pick of four books from a giveaway by Sarah Grace Tuttle. Choosing wasn't easy, but I knew I wanted to read this one and get it for my granddaughters, both rock climbers. Sadly, they were going to join a rock-climbing club, canceled for now because of the virus shutdowns. But they love the book and understood more than I did when we read it. Ashima Shiraishi tells her own story which is beautifully illustrated by Yao ...more
I had never realized that rock climbers had a name for the formations that they needed to climb onto and over in order to reach their destination. These boulders are called problems, which makes this personal story of how one talented climber, the author Ashima Shiraishi, describes how she approaches these problems. Many young readers will draw inspiration from her example as she doesn't simply rise to the top with ease; instead, she falls more than once, and then uses what she has learned from ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
It is great to have a biography of a living asian american girl. Ashima Shriashi is a rock climbing phenomenon and absolutely worth of a biography. The illustrations are fun, colorful and cartoonish. My only quibble is that the reification of how Ashima visualizes and solves the problem of her climbs doesn’t come across clearly. She sees disparate items, an elbow, bolts of cloth, a waving cat. While the author artist repeats this visualization multiple times I kept feeling it could have benefite ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ashima Shiraishi is a rock climbing champion. She calls it solving problems. When she looks at a rock or boulder, she sees the problems that need to be solved so she can climb it - she maps out the problem in her head and learns for her mistakes. She tries again , climbs, falls, learns and tries again. broken up into pieces the difficult climb full of problems is eventually achieved.

What a great metaphor for looking at life's problems and learning from them. Ashima is a remarkable young lady. W
Becky B
Young rock climber, Ashima Shiraishi, shows readers how she tackles a new climbing challenge, and shares how falls can help lead to success. The back of the book includes a timeline of Ashima's life and greatest accomplishments thus far.

Too many of our students today think a mistake means they are a failure. I love the way this book points out how mistakes can teach us things and lead to ultimate success. I also like how it shows that success doesn't have to happen on the first try. Ashima Shira
This book is a delight in every way. Ashima’s story of solving the problem of Golden Shadow— demonstrating her determination, grace, creativity, and belief in herself— is super inspiring; the illustrations are lovely and exciting; and the writing is clear and straightforward while still possible for reading on multiple levels. A great book for kids struggling to solve problems or deal with the frustration of having to sometimes solve the same problem over and over again.

Themes: determination, b
Oct 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Great little story of a teenager who has already reached the top ranks of boulder climbers. She's scaled V15s! That's amazing.

I like the way the book plays with the way climbers call boulders "problems" -- she learns from them by falling, as we learn in life.

The backmatter has a timeline of her life (short -- she's only 19!). The illustrations are I think digitally produced? They weren't really to my taste. The words occasionally rhymed, but not on most of the pages; I didn't really see a patter
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars This book was incredibly well done! I love that it focuses on a real person and teaches such amazing lessons through her story of becoming a champion rock climber. I didn't know in rock climbing that the boulders/rocks that they climb are called "problems" which lends itself to an incredible metaphor for teaching children about resiliency, the importance of our failures in leading to success, grit, problem-solving, courage, determination, and hard work. I can't wait to share Ashima's s ...more
Stephanie Tournas
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Nineteen year old phenom Shiraishi describes how she solves rock climbing challenges. By breaking the climb into smaller pieces and visually mapping them out step by step, she says that she can see "a bright map of thinking." Brief text and large scale digital art in bright colors of the outdoors encourage youngsters to get up after failure and try again - a worthy message. Although there is not much information about her life, the books offers inspiration for attempting life's challenges. ...more
Aliza Werner
Part memoir, part problem solving. I love this approach to an autobiographical story using the lens of boulder climbing to think about tackling any problems in life. Her falls and mistakes are viewed as a “message, a hint, an idea” instead of a negative. Each fall teaches her how to surmount her problem. Never didactic. Gorgeously illustrated. Published by new imprint Make Me A World by Christopher Myers.
Jessica Kelley
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for my daughter thinking it was a graphic novel. It's more of a picture book, and therefore "below her reading level" (whatever that means). She read it anyway, and enjoyed it. I read it just now myself and was surprised and what a great book it is. Almost like an illustrated poem, with some excellent lessons about perseverance, and more importantly about truly learning from your mistakes - "each fall is a message, a hint, an idea." ❤ ...more
Katie Lawrence
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a cool look a the development of a young climbing phenom. I loved the way this looked at climbing problems and equated solving them to solving other problems too. Shiraishi does a good job helping readers see what she sees when she tackles a new problem and analyzes how to solve it. Quite cool to have this book from a young person who's so strong in her sport. I wish there was some back matter and maybe a photograph of Shiraishi climbing in real life, but overall this is great. ...more
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