Marcia's Reviews > Heart of a Samurai

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
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's review
Feb 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: award-winner, grades-4-6, middle-school, historical-fiction
Recommended for: Peter
Read from February 08 to 13, 2011

I put this Newbery Honor book on my historical fiction shelf, but I believe it is a fictionalized biography--based on a true story with dialogue that's been created. What an interesting story! There are so many fascinating snippets from history: Japan as a nation closed to the outside word ( which most kids don't know about), whaling and life at sea, prejudice and racism, the gold rush. Manjiro (John Mung) was a young Japanese boy whose fishing boat was stranded on a deserted island in the 1840s. Picked up by a U. S. whaling ship, he was befriended by the captain, who took him to America (Fairhaven, Massachusetts) as a son. After 10 years, John returns to Japan but is seen as an outsider and spy and thrown into prison. When Commodore Perry sails into Edo harbor demanding that Japan open its ports to outside trade, John's knowledge of America is needed. Lots of great vocabulary, original art work from Manjiro, and just an amazing story make this one worth reading.

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