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Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

by on February 5th, 2011
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus Cover Image

Boys in grades 5-8 will especially like this adventure story, inspired by a true adventure on the high seas, about a 14 year-old Japanese boy, Manjiro, who wants to become a samurai.  The setting begins in 1841 when he and four friends are rescued on an island off Japan by an American whaling ship.  Over the next ten years he travels to many faraway places.  He becomes an expert whaler and deals with much prejudice on board ship and on land.  Manjiro learns a new language and comes to understand that the Americans are not so barbaric after all.  Befriended by Captain Whitfield, Manjiro is treated like a son back in Bedford, Massachusetts. The reader will enjoy hearing about various adventures as Manjiro grows into manhood, but will Manjiro ever get to return to his homeland and see his mother again?  First time author Preus has done a lot of research in preparation for telling this story.  She includes a glossary of  words, an epilogue talking about the real Manjiro (or John Mung) character and his life, including details about his later life promoting friendship and understanding between the two nations of Japan and the United States.  Also included are further background information and a bibliography and suggested reading.  Many of the original drawings by the real Japanese boy thought to be the first Japanese person to set foot in America are included throughout the book.  A Newbery Honor Award book, this is first class historical fiction for adolescents.

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About Katherine

Where would you find me in the Library:
In the Children's Room
Interesting facts:
Hobbies: gourmet cooking and baking, shopping for antiques, reading, watching tennis on TV, photography, traveling.
I got my Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Missouri in 1974 and have worked as a Children's Librarian in Illinois and Wisconsin as well as over 20 years at ICPL.
I live in Coralville with my husband, Wes, who works at ACT and plays clarinet in various bands. Our son, Brent, is in the Army JAG Corps and is currently stationed at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Our daughter, Kelly, is an environmentalist in Corvallis, Oregon.
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