Heart of a Samurai

A 2011 Newbery Honor Book | A 2013 Beehive Children’s Fiction Nominee

Written by Margi Preus

This book is based on the true story of Nakahama Manjiro, a poor fisherman who wanted to be a Samurai. He is shipwrecked on an island and finally rescued by an American whaler. In spite of his fear of these “barbarians,” he is taken in and spends the next 10 years learning their ways. Upon his return to Japan, he is suspect as a spy or a traitor. Still, he is valuable, as the time for Japan’s 250 years of isolation is coming to an end and he is familiar with the foreigners’ ways. The book gives an interesting look into the Samurai and Nippon (Japan) culture of the time. Most of the characters are from real history, although somewhat fictionalized. An interesting read! There is also a Japanese glossary in the back and an explanation of history tie-ins for the story.

Review by Fay Mason, Churchill Jr. High School Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-9

Heart of a Samurai
Written by Margi Preus
Amulet / Harry N. Abrams
320 p.
ISBN: 9780810989818
Release Date: August 1, 2010

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