Last week, on our visit to the Phoenician ship, I brought the book: Milad-the voyage to Ophir by Nazam Anhar. Not surprisingly, it is historical fiction about a Phoenician boy who sails with a fleet to Ophir (present day Ethiopia) to bring back treasures for King Solomon of Israel.
This book would be, I think, what the nineteenth century educator, Charlotte Mason, would have described as a living book. It is fiction and certainly not a textbook or twaddle but had me looking at my atlas to see what the modern equivalents are called.
Milad comes from a farming family in Phoenicia-modern Lebanon. He has always wanted to go to sea but his parents have wanted him to stay on the family farm until drought threatens their livelihood. Milad is taken on a ship travelling to Ophir to bring back treasures for Solomon. He encounters pirates and a runaway princess as well as travelling deep into Ophir with the crew who trade for treasure.
I don't want to tell you too much but Milad and an experienced Phoenician navigator have a hair raising journey home via Egypt and the Nile.
It was fascinating to think that some of the pyramids were several hundred years old even then. I learnt more than I had known, well that wasn't much, about the Nile and the area surrounding the Blur Nile.
This book is a suitable read for older children probably from about age 10. It would definitely appeal to boys.
Caveats: the adventures are fairly extreme. I was a bit surprised that they arrived back in one piece.
Solomon doesn't come off in the best light-I don't have a problem with this. I wouldn't have wanted to be the nth wife anymore than the runaway princess did. Milad isn't a Jew and doesn't have any understanding of the God of the Jews nor of the circumstances of Solomon's accession but then these are discussion points.
It is obtainable in the UK from the Phoenicia but it also appears to be sold by LCP. I've never ordered from LCP which seem to be primarily a schools company but they do seem to sell the book in quantities of one! It is published by the Australian branch of Scholastic and is available on Amazon.com in the US.