Seven Voyages: How China’s Treasure Fleet Conquered the Sea

Roaring Brook. Jan. 2021. 176p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626721227.
Gr 5-8–Chinese history is often glossed over in world history curriculums, so this work is one that will interest real history buffs. Geared to sophisticated middle and high school readers, Bergreen and Fray’s work opens with a vivid and exciting narration, grabbing readers as if embarking on an adventure novel, instead of a history book. The text quickly sinks into a litany of facts as the authors describe Zhu Di’s climb to power as the Yongle Emperor during the Ming dynasty. The narration ebbs and flows, tedious at times, exciting at others as it delves into the various voyages of Zheng He and how his expansion of trade brought much power to the Chinese empire. The title is sparsely illustrated; the lack makes this a text-heavy title, which may disappoint young readers drawn to photos and illustrations.
VERDICT This isn’t a title for reluctant readers, but libraries looking to expand their coverage of Chinese history would do well to add this book to their collection.

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