Silk Road Resources at Seattle Public Library

This list was compiled by children's librarian Ann Dalton, initially for the Silk Road Seattle Teacher workshop on January 12, 2002, and then revised and supplemented. It is reproduced here with the permission of Seattle Public Library.

Look for these resources to expand your understanding and enhance your teaching of the ways of life along the Silk Road. Interest levels for the materials on this list are approximate. Be sure to ask your local librarian for help finding others to meet your needs. Note that book titles are listed first, followed by the authors' names.

The books are listed under three headings:

  • People and Places
  • Folklore
  • Religion
  • .

    People and Places

    Ancient China
    Brian Williams

    Ancient Rome
    Simon James
    The customs and culture of ancient civilizations are revealed in cut-away scenes of daily life in the See Through History series.


    Cultural Journeys: Traditions from China
    Shelby Mamdani
    Easy-to-read descriptions of festivals, foods, and customs in contemporary and ancient China are illustrated with color photographs. Grades 3+


    Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Baghdad
    Dawn Kotapish

    Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Beijing
    Robert Baldwin

    Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Istanbul
    Robert Bator
    Brief descriptions, illustrations, and timelines of each city are included in this series, Cities Through Time. Grades 6+


    Exploration into China
    Wang Tao
    The history of the Chinese people and China's relationship with the rest of the world is told with maps, photos, and drawings. Timelines of corresponding events in the Western world are included. Grades 5+

    Explorers and Traders
    Claire Craig
    A history of worldwide trade and some of the explorers who pioneered trade routes such as the Silk Road is presented. Grades 5+

    House of Wisdom
    Florence Parry Heide
    Young Ishaq, whose father is a translator and scribe in ancient Baghdad's House of Wisdom, is inspired to lead an expedition through the Islamic Empire in search of new manuscripts. Grades K+

    Kublai Khan
    Kim Dramer
    This biography of the Great Khan, founder of the Mongol dynasty in China, includes an account of his friendship with Marco Polo during the merchant's years travelling the Silk Road. Grades 7+

    Marco Polo: A Journey Through China
    Fiona Macdonald
    Cartoon-like illustrations lend appeal to younger students learning about Marco Polo, the inquisitive and learned Venetian traveler. Grades 4+

    Muhammad of Mecca: Prophet of Islam
    Elsa Marston
    This introduction to the life and times of Muhammad discusses the spread of Islam from its beginnings to the present day. Grades 6+

    The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History
    John S. Major
    The history and importance of the legendary trade route that stretched between China and Byzantium is dramatized through an account of a typical journey. Grades 4+

    Tibet: Through the Red Box
    Peter Sis
    Author-illustrator, Sis, describes his father's mysterious journey to Tibet in the 1950's and his surprise encounter with the young Dalai Lama. Grades 3+

    Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354
    James Rumford
    Though his journeys did not take him along the Silk Road, Ibn Battuta was a Muslim explorer travelling the world in the 14th century. Grades 3+


    The Gifts of Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan
    Aaron Shepard
    A poor grass-cutter finds that gifts can be a mixed blessing. Grades 2+

    The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story
    Rebecca Hicox
    This version of Cinderella is based on an Iraqi story called "The Little Red Fish and the Clog of Gold." Grades K+

    The Khan's Daughter: A Mongolian Folktale
    Laurence Yep
    A simple shepherd must pass three tests in order to win the hand of the Khan's daughter in marriage. Grades 3+

    Stories from the Silk Road
    Cherry Gilchrist
    Seven intriguing tales illuminate the history and culture of the people living and travelling along the Silk Road through Central Asia. Grades 3+


    Anita Ganeri

    Neil Morris
    Historical and contemporary issues are included along with information about the origins and expansion of Islam and Buddhism in the World of Beliefs series. Grades 5+

    I Once Was a Monkey: Stories Buddha Told
    Jeanne M. Lee
    These retellings of six Jatakas, or birth stories, illustrate some of the Buddha's central teachings, such as compassion and honesty. Grades K+

    Kingfisher Book of Religions
    Trevor Barnes
    The development, festivals, and ceremonies of world religions from ancient times to the present are presented in this beautiful book. Grades 7+

    What Do We Know About...Islam?
    Sharukh Husain
    This introduction to the practices and perspectives of Muslims around the world is from the What Do We Know About... series that also includes Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism. Grades 6+