title: Heart of a Samurai
author: Margi Preus
date: 2010, Amulet Books
"Heart of a Samurai vividly summons for readers ages 10-16 not only the story of a remarkable man but also the turbulent era in which he lived." WSJ review
main character: Manjiro “John Mung”
While on a routine fishing expedition, 14 year old Manjiro and his shipmates are overtaken by a storm and left shipwrecked on an island. They are eventually rescued, but not by their fellow Japanese countrymen. This creates a problem because joining these foreigners could prohibit them from ever returning to their homeland. Manjiro, with his great sense of adventure, not only decides to stay with these American sailors, but ends up being adopted by the captain.
In this story based up the real life of Manjiro, Preus introduces us to the 18th century closed Japanese society in a way that draws readers inside. The young Manjiro is not a perfect character but he is a character for whom readers want the best. Whether or not he ever returns home to Japan, he will be able to make the best of what is given him and will be happy in his surroundings.
Preus skillfully recreates 18th century life in a way that readers can appreciate. There were a few sea scenes that I found too technical, but other readers might appreciate the attention to details. I particularly enjoyed the epilogue and historical notes at the end of the book which let readers know how real the story is.
Heart of a Samurai is a 2011 Newbery Honor book; 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the MG category
It’s Cybils time! The call for judges has gone out and bloggers have until 15 September to apply. I judged YA nonfiction last year and really appreciated the opportunity to critically read some of the best non-fiction books of the year. Because I was invested in the process, I paid more attention to the events than I did in the previous years, met and interacted with bloggers I hadn’t known before and basically had the opportunity to grow. If you’re looking for something new and different, do consider being a Cybils judge! Time’s running out so apply now!
A lot of people have been posting a lot of lists lately but this one from Librarian by Day really appeals to me. I ‘found’ Librarian by Day on Twitter and quickly picked up her blog. She captured me through her professional commentaries but she’s one who is able to bring in her personal self in just the right balance. She lists 7 books that changed her world and while I’ll probably never make the time to read another Harry Potter (I only read the one volume that I bought in London) I’m going straight to order The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.
A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together
What book would I add to this list? Same Kind of Different as Me. I picked up this book because I liked the cover. I had no idea what it was going to be about, but by the end of the book, I was actually in tears. Books never move me to tears! I was able to convince my sons to read this book and they then told others they had to read this book. Yes, it’s that good!
I went to check on the Borders website yesterday. Some of the books are now 30% off, but some aren’t even on sale! Some of the Borders books are more expensive that books on Amazon. I don’t get it.
And yes, then there is today. 9/ 11.
Taria shares a list of 9/11 books while Zetta shares her 9/11 children’s story.
May no one ever swallow your sunshine.