Tag Archives: the Silk Road

Along the Silk Road

3 Jun

As an end of the year project, our 6th graders always write China folk tales. They need to incorporate some of details we learned in class about Ancient China and create a pop-up book. It is a fun project and many os their stories are set along the Silk Road, which is the last topic we cover in class.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover a YA fantasy novel, set along the Silk Road. I read it this weekend, just to be sure it was worth putting in my library. There is a smidge of romance and one kiss, but otherwise it is very chaste.

The Candle and the Flame, by Nafiza Azad, beautifully illustrates the cultural diffusion we talked about in class as people (and creatures) from many different places converge along the Silk Road.

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Publisher’s Summary:
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar. But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

Reading along the Silk Road

30 Sep

Funny, how library holds work. You go along, blithely putting everything you want on hold, and then they arrive, and there’s a connection. I just read my way from Constantinople to Turkestan.

It all started with Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, a graphic novel by Tony Cliff. Girl power galore!

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Selim is a lieutenant in the sultan’s army in early 1800s Constantinople. He lives a quiet, simple life until the day Delilah Dirk shows up in the sultan’s dungeon. While questioning her he discovers she claims to be a fearsome fighter, with deeds to her credit around the world. When she escapes, the sultan believes Selim had something to do with it, and he orders them both to be killed. Delilah frees Selim and takes him along on her adventures. You can actually read it online, for free, HERE!

Then, I read my first book on an e-reader, which was a more enjoyable experience than I expected.

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The book however was amazing. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, give perspective on what it is like to be gay in Iran. Sahar and Nasrin have been best friends forever, but when Nasrin becomes engaged, Sahar delves into a hidden part of Iranian culture. Well written and easy to read, I couldn’t put this one down.

On over to India, in the days just prior to partition, with  A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury.

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The story is narrated by three characters, all about the same age: Tariq is a Muslim whose family is planning to leave India for Pakistan. Anupreet is a Sikh girl who has been a victim of the  violence between Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus rocking India at this time. Margaret is an english girl and the daughter of a surveyor working to create the border. Each chapter is narrated by a different character, helping see into this complicated time & place, and telling an excellent story.

The final book, The Vine Basket  by Josanne LaValley, is set among the Uyghurs of the part of eastern China, formerly known as east Turkestan.

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Combining cultural geography, and themes of resistance, female empowerment La Valley tells the compelling story of Mehrigul. She has had to leave school to help support her family and lives in fear that her father will turn her over to the local Party boss as part of a quota of girls to work in factories in the South. When an American women buys one f her baskets for a huge sum, and asks her to make more, Mehrigul finally hopes her future might not be as bleak as she supposes.

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