By Cole Wagner, Meritt Herald
The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing, the story of a railroad worker who braved dangerous conditions during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, had already earned plaudits from critics – but Merrittonians in particular might find something special in the story.
That's because Chen Sing's story is based on the real Chen Sing, a Chinese immigrant who moved to Canada to work on the railroad, and later settled down in the Nicola Valley to raise a large family.
A work of historical fiction, the book is aimed at teaching young children and pre-teens about the dangerous and harrowing conditions that work crews – especially Chinese work crews – faced as they attempted to cut a railroad through the Rocky Mountains in the latter half of the 19th century.
Author George Chiang based the novel on conversations he had with Ike Sing – one of the Chen Sing's eight children – nearly 20 years ago. Complete with full colour illustrations, the short chapter book tells the story of Chen Sing's encounters with wild animals, severe weather conditions and unforeseen obstacles that stand in the way of the railroad.
The book was recognized with two Global Ebook Awards in August, winning gold in the children's literature fiction category, as well as the juvenile fiction category.
While Merrittonians might recognize some references to the geography, most of the novel is concerned with Chen Sing's life before he came to Merritt. However, Chiang is planning a sequel to the "Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing", tentatively titled "The Pioneer Adventures of Chen Sing". In the sequel, locals will be able to recognize much more of the Nicola Valley, explained Chiang.
This is the first novel published by Chiang, who has a background as a playwright, actor, and composer.
The ebook is available on Amazon, while hardcover and paperback versions are also available to order online.