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cover of Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan

My book Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan was published in 2011 by Tanglewood Press. It is the winner of the 2012–2013 APALA Award for Literature—Children's Literature Category.

In March 2013 I gave two audio interviews to TeachingBooks.net: trade routes wall hanging Chengli’s story is set in China during the early 600s, when the fabled trade route was at its height. Caravans with hundreds of pack animals traveled in both directions carrying precious cargo to and from the cities along the route. When danger struck Chengli’ s caravan and a royal princess was kidnapped, events forced the boy to find courage, skills, and wisdom beyond his wildest dream. The setting for this adventure is real and based on my own journey along this ancient route. The people, of course, are real only in my imagination.

Here is what one reviewer—from Egypt—said about the book through Library Media Connection:

Scott O’Dell would be proud of this excellent historical fiction about China and the Silk Road of the 7th Century. Orphaned Chengli joins a caravan in hopes of finding out more about his father and the mysterious piece of jade bequeathed to him. Along the way he learns how to tend donkeys and camels, fend for himself against the harsh environs, deal with thieves and a spoiled princess, and remain true to his mission. There are vivid descriptions of life along the caravan highway revealing a clear understanding of life more than fourteen hundred years ago. Young readers can identify with Chengli’s struggles to survive and remain true to himself. The only thing missing from this excellent story is a map showing his journey.
Judyth Lessee, Librarian
Schutz American School, Alexandria, Egypt

The Chengli story was inspired by an actual trip we took along ancient trade routes. To see photos from the trip, click here or on the wall hanging photo.

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