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The Silk Road Review by Stacy Rocha

Kathy Ceceri
Nomad Press
2456 Christian Street
White River Junction, Vermont 05001

Would you and your children like to take a journey on the Silk Road? Would you like to see the sights, meet the different people, and perhaps trade goods with other merchants? Well, if you don't own a time machine, then The Silk Road, by Kathy Ceceri, is your next best option! One of Nomad Press's Build it Yourself Series, this 122-page book is full of information and activities for children ages 9-12.

The introduction, "The Silk Road & Other Ancient Trade Routes," describes what a trade route was and what it looked like. It also explains how the Silk Road connected Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Chapter 1, "History of the Silk Road," tells about different trade routes before the Silk Road, how the Silk Road developed, and how it ended. This chapter also discusses famous people who used the Silk Road, such as Marco Polo. You'll also learn that it wasn't just traveled by merchants, but by missionaries who wanted to spread their religions. Chapter 2, "Wonders from Afar, Trade Goods," covers the different goods that were bought and sold and what constituted a worthy good to be taken along the Silk Road. In Chapter 3, "Over Mountains, Deserts, and Seas," you'll learn how people traveled and what it was like. Chapter 4, "People of the Silk Road," talks about the people who lived in the towns along the Silk Road as well as the nomads who traveled them. In Chapter 5, "Cities and Towns Along the Silk Road," you'll learn how many of the cities began as small oasis towns. Chapter 6, "The Spread of Ideas, Technology, and Traditions," explores how the Silk Road was used to spread things that are less tangible. The final chapter, "The Silk Road Today," tells how different it is today because of the influence of the modern world and natural disasters, such as earthquakes that have ruined many of the old buildings.

Throughout the book are 20 projects that are creative and fun as well as easy to do. Some projects are a little more involved than others. Making your own Healthy Spiced Tea is pretty easy; all you need is one teabag of black tea, finely ground pepper, boiling water, honey and a mug. However building your own Model Yurt is a little more involved and requires patience, perseverance, and a few different kinds of wooden objects that are easily found at a craft store. All of the projects are meant to reinforce the concepts being covered but you could certainly skip the ones that don't appeal to you. There are illustrations and maps throughout the book as well as Words to Know, and Fascinating Facts.

My family has really enjoyed The Silk Road. There is a lot of great information, and it is written in a way that is not intimidating and is easily understood. There are a lot of aspects covered that I would never have thought to include if I had tried to pull something together myself. It is well worth $15.95. It's not just a book but an experience!

Product review by Stacy Rocha, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2011