Toyo goes to an elite boarding school in Japan in 1890, where most of the students are sons of samurai. Toyo is the son and nephew of samurai, and his uncle committed seppuko the year before Toyo came to this school. His father was less of a warrior than his uncle; he writes editorials for a Japanese newspaper decrying the new order that caused samurai to give up their swords and tried to create a more egalitarian society. Toyo's passion is baseball (besu boru) but his father has no use for the sport and has never seen a game. Toyo gets to play on his Ichiko team and when his father begins giving him samurai lessons, Toyo applies what he learns to baseball with positive effects. Mention baseball and samurai to boys and this is a pretty easy sell, but it has much, much more. Multicultural, historical fiction, coming of age. One of my 8th grade students described it as the best book he had ever read. I loved it too.