Jessie's Reviews > Heart of a Samurai

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
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's review
Jun 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, summer-2011, 4-5-star-best-books, multi-cultural
Read from June 24 to 27, 2011

It reminded me a a picture book about Japan. I'll have to ask Erma, since I can't remember the name of the awesome picture book that tells this same story. I think that the picture book was better written. This story is pretty straightforward, and easy read with no flashbacks or guessing. I guess I hoped it would be crafted better because of its Newberry Honor. I think it got that award because of the subject matter. ***the whole review is filled with spoilers*** It is the story of a fishing boat lost at sea because of a storm. They get picked up by an American whaling vessel. The young boy, Manjiro, learns English and whaling and travels to America. He goes to school and is adopted by the captain of the boat that rescued him.
The story is truly amazing, that even against all odds, even being put in prison for a year and a half after he returns to Japan, he changes policy so that Japan opens the harbor. He becomes a Samurai which in the Japanese culture is an inherited title, not a given title. It was unheard of that a fisherman could become a Samurai. He taught classes and translated books, he did help to change his world. He was a boy who made a difference.

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