Children's LiteratureFull-color photographs and vivid illustrations invite readers to browse through the 32 pages of this nonfiction paperback. Although written for middle readers, it was interesting for me to learn the history as well as about the growing and harvesting of spices. The United States is the largest importer of spices. From ancient times spices have been used for their medicinal purposes, as well as for use in religious ceremonies and embalming. Although spices are grown throughout the world, many of our most desirable spices first grew wild in the tropics. Ancient trade routes moved spices across the oceans. Spices were easy to transport and did not spoil or rot like fresh foods or shatter like porcelain and ceramics. Arabs were the first great spice traders, obtaining spices from Asia and Africa and transporting them to Egypt, Rome, and Greece. The Arabs traveled overland routes in enormous caravans or sailed the Indian Ocean in great fleets of ships. India, China, and the Spice Islands of Indonesia were the source of most spices. The contents of this book includes information on the medieval spice trade, exploring the new world, and spice trading today. A glossary is included to help with unfamiliar words. Part of the "How Did That Get Here?" series. 2006, Crabtree Publishing Company, and Ages 9 to 12.