Now in Paperback
Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan
Written by Hildi Kang
Middle Grade, Ages 8-12
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-933718-54-5, 184 pages, $14.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-933718-78-1, 176 pages, $8.95
Guided reading level: X; Grade level: 6 & up; Reading Recovery level: NA
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Winner of the Asian Pacific American Librarian Association's 2013 award for children's fiction - the purpose of this literature award "is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit."
An orphaned Chinese boy joins a caravan to explore the desert and hopefully find out more about his father. A grand adventure set on the fabled trade route.
At one point, as they drove eight hours on the one and only paved road between Khiva and Bukhara with nothing at all in sight except flat, barren, desolate land, Hildi vividly imagined a camel caravan making the same trip. The realization suddenly hit her that the "trade routes" are still in use: camel caravans have become truck caravans using the same but recently paved road, and travel is still in groups, for the dangers haven't changed. Photos preserve the trip; the story of Chengli shares it.
Behind the book:
Hildi Kang is a former educator, a writer, and active traveler, having made trips by foot, bike, and llama. An early love of books and maps led to dreams of the blue-domed mosques of Samarkand and the donkey market in Kashgar. In the 1990s, the borders of previous Communist country opened, and Hildi, her husband, and two companions (plus driver and interpreter), spent a month following the trade routes around the Taklamakan desert in the northwest province of China and crossing into Uzbekistan to follow the road from the cities of Khiva to Samarkand. For more about Hildi Kang, visit her website.
About the Author:
Hildi Kang is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and as an educator, she taught elementary Special Education. Her writing includes five books for elementary school teachers, an entry in Fire and Wings, the dragon anthology of Cricket Books, and two academic books on Korean history.
When not writing or traveling, she hikes, bikes, and plays cello in a local orchestra. She and her family lived many years in the town of Clarence Center near Buffalo, New York, and currently reside in Livermore, California.
"This fast-paced adventure is filled with friendship, historical detail, changing scenery, and action. It will appeal to a wide range of readers."—School Library Journal
"Cultural practices and beliefs are detailed, and descriptions depict the setting and era...this is reminiscent of the work of Lloyd Alexander...readers who forge ahead will enjoy an interesting adventure."—Kirkus Reviews
"Hildi Kang's captivating story brings the pathways and cities of the historical Silk Road to life while offering vivid lessons in tenacity, integrity, and friendship."—Nan Kim, Asst. Professor of History, Univ. of Wisc.
"Hilda Kang has written a young adult historical fiction novel that will thrill every reader who loves stories about young, heroic characters living in exotic lands of long ago. Delightful!"—Historical Novel Society