Competition for Columbus? New Pan Asian Book Introduces Explorer Zheng He to Children

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Could Zheng He, a Chinese explorer who sailed to Ceylon, India, Africa and the Middle East between 1405 and 1433, have beaten Columbus to North America? The evidence supporting this claim is controversial, but the adventures of Zheng He, are exciting nonetheless. With The Great Voyages of Zheng He, his well-documented and dramatic adventures come to life for English-speaking children (ages 10-up) for the first time and are available from Pan Asian in English, English/Chinese and English/Vietnamese editions.

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(PRWEB) September 26, 2005 -- Decades before the voyages of Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan, Zheng He led seven major expeditions that extended the cultural and economic reach of the Chinese empire and helped China become a political superpower. Written and illustrated by Song Non Zhang, who co-authored the English text with his son, The Great Voyages of Zheng He highlights tells the story of a man who faced many obstacles to become advisor to an emperor and admiral of the greatest navy the world had ever seen.

Zheng He’s fleet included 28,000 sailors on 300 ships, the longest of which were 400 feet long (a marked comparison with Columbus who, in 1492, had 90 sailors on three ships, the largest of which was 85 feet).

The Great Voyages of Zheng He tells of his battles with pirates, encounters with exotic animals, and instances of diplomatic brilliance and military might. The book’s lavish illustrations bring the reader right into Zheng He’s world with detailed views of armor, equipment, and battles at sea and vivid depictions of the sights Zheng He encountered.

After Zheng He's exploration, China retreated into relative isolation, and the explorer's accomplishments were not celebrated for 500 years. Even today, few children know this amazing story, but The Great Voyages of Zheng He will introduce them to a fascinating historical figure who is once again being recognized as hero in his own country and a significant figure in world history.

To commemorate the 600th anniversary of Zheng He's first voyage this Fall, China is building a replica ship and hopes to use it to retrace the original journeys.

Pan Asian Publications is a publisher of bilingual books, including language editions of the bestseller, Rainbow Fish, and is a leading supplier and library service provider of Asian language materials to libraries across the world.

[Note to Editors: Contact Susan Salzman Raab for a review copy.]

The Great Voyages of Zheng He

Text by Song Nan Zhang and Hao Yu Zhang

Illustrated by Song Nan Zhang

Ages: 10-up

ISBN: 1-57227-088-8

Price: $16.95 (U.S.)

Contact:

Susan Salzman Raab

Raab Associates    

914-241-2117

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Susan Raab