Towards Mt. Ararat

Mt. Ararat has always been my sense of hope. When I was young, it was how I defined Armenia. Throughout the years, it has driven me to be the best Armenian I can be. Especially through the realities of today’s Armenia, it has been my savior. In 2019, I had the privilege of climbing Mt. Ararat. I’ve pinched myself a couple of times thinking that it was a dream — but no, it was real. The feeling of raising the Armenian flag on the peak of the mountain is one that words can’t explain. From that moment on, I decided to make it my mission to share my experience with others and show them that they too can make all their dreams a reality, and they too can raise our flags on Mt. Ararat.

I knew I couldn’t just take every child to Armenia. I kept asking myself, “How can I bring Mt. Ararat to the diaspora?” I realized that my next children’s book must be about Mt. Ararat. Throughout the book, my characters Nareh and Haig discuss different facts about Mt. Ararat, from where it is located to how to measure its height and so on. The book ends with Nareh and Haig deciding to climb Mt. Ararat themselves! After publishing the book, I recognized that much more could be done to make the book accessible and interesting for kids, so I decided to make a game to go along with it. The game asks players to “run,” “walk,” “drink water,” “set their tent” and so on until they reach the peak.  

Soon after my book was published, I had the privilege of visiting multiple schools around the world, from New Jersey and California, to Lebanon and even Armenia. This adventure has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. Each school and community is different from one another, yet they all do everything in their power to keep our Armenian language and culture alive. 

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I would always start my presentation by asking the students if they liked to dance, sing, write, read and so on in Armenian. Nareh and Haig are proud that they are Armenian, because they can do all of those things in Armenian. That led me to mention that Nareh and Haig also love to climb mountains, but their favorite mountain to climb is…and before I could even say which mountain, they would all scream, “Mt. Ararat!” This turned into a conversation rather than a book reading, which allowed everyone to express what was on their mind freely. 

When I asked if anyone had an idea of how to measure Mt. Ararat, I got a variety of answers, from using a ladder or a ruler to even climbing Mt. Ararat to measure it. This was a great way for the students to learn the differences between various measuring tools. In the book, Nareh and Haig throw out some ideas that are obviously not feasible, such as measuring it with lavash hats, which amused the students. 

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When the time came to find out the height of Medz Masis, there were guesses from 10 feet all the way to a million. The students hit their hands on their knees until I counted to three and shouted the answer, which left them in awe. They reacted with the same excitement when they were told how many days it takes to climb Mt. Ararat! 

Once we got through reading the book, it was time for us all to climb Mt. Ararat together. I had the students stand up and prepare themselves and their friends around them to start our journey. We ran, walked, climbed and answered various questions about Mt. Ararat until we finally reached its peak with both Armenia and Artsakh’s flags.

Then it was time for their final surprise. They were told that someone in the room had climbed Mt. Ararat in real life! They answered that they themselves had — they had climbed Mt. Ararat. This left me speechless, because I had achieved my goal in writing this book. What left me even more speechless, if that’s possible, was the way they looked at me in awe when they found out I had climbed Mt. Ararat and asked if they could come with me next time. 

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If I have learned anything through this journey, it is that we must continue to educate the youth about our rich culture and language. We must continue to show them that they can be the next Hovhannes Toumanian or Martiros Saryan. They will climb Mt. Ararat one day without crossing any borders, and when they do, I hope they don’t forget to tell me all about it!

I’m sure you have a corner dedicated for Armenian books in your library and would love for you to add my books to your collection. You can purchase my books through filling out the book order forms on my website here.

Meghri Dervartanian

Meghri Dervartanian

Meghri Dervartanian is a member of the AYF-YOARF Greater Boston "Nejdeh" Chapter as well as the Homenetmen Boston Chapter. She started her own tutoring and social media platform called "Armenian Crash Course" where she teaches and promotes Western Armenian. She is the author of multiple Armenian children's books, which can be found on her website, armeniancrashcourse.com, as well as at various bookstores in the area and internationally.
Meghri Dervartanian

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1 Comment

  1. If a deal is made allowing the Turks access between Turkey and Azerbaijan through Syunik then Armenia must insist, as part of that deal, that the Turks open their border and allow Armenians to visit Mt. Ararat.

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