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Heart of a Samurai

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Heart of a Samurai Cover

ISBN13: 9780810989818
ISBN10: 0810989816
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japans borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

 

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

"A terrifc biographical novel by Margi Preus." -Wall Street Journal

*STARRED review from Booklist*

Manjiro is 14 when a freak storm washes him and his four fishing companions onto a tiny island far from their Japanese homeland. Shortly before starving, they are rescued by an American whaling ship. But its 1841 and distrust is rampant: the Japanese consider the whalers “barbarians,” while the whalers think of the Japanese as “godless cannibals.” Captain William Whitfield is different—childless, he forges a bond with the boy, and when it comes time for Manjiro to choose between staying with his countrymen or going to America as Whitfields son, he picks the path of adventure. Its a classic fish-out-of-water story (although this fish goes into the water repeatedly), and its precisely this classic structure that gives the novel the sturdy bones of a timeless tale. Backeted by gritty seafaring episodes—salty and bloody enough to assure us that Preus has done her research—the books heart is its middle section, in which Manjiro, allegedly the first Japanese to set foot in America, deals with the prejudice and promise of a new world. By Japanese tradition, Manjiro was destined to be no more than a humble fisherman, but when his 10-year saga ends, he has become so much more. Wonderful back matter helps flesh out this fictionalized companion to the same true story told in Rhoda Blumbergs Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy (2001).

— Daniel Kraus

*STARRED review from Kirkus Reviews*

In 1841, 14-year-old Manjiro joined four others on an overnight fishing trip. Caught by a severe storm, their small rowboat was shipwrecked on a rocky island. Five months later, they were rescued by the crew of a whaling ship from New Bedford. Manjiro, renamed John Mung, was befriended by the captain and eventually lived in his home in New Bedford, rapidly absorbing Western culture. But the plight of his impoverished family in Japan was never far from Manjiros mind, although he knew that his countrys strict isolationist policy meant a death sentence if he returned. Illustrated with Manjiros own pencil drawings in addition to other archival material and original art from Tamaki, this is a captivating fictionalized (although notably faithful) retelling of the boys adventures. Capturing his wonder, remarkable willingness to learn, the prejudice he encountered and the way he eventually influenced officials in Japan to open the country, this highly entertaining page-turner is the perfect companion to Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy, by Rhoda Blumberg (2001). (historical note, extensive glossary, bibliography.) (Historical fiction. 9-13)

*STARRED review from School Library Journal*

A Japanese teenager living in the mid-19th century bridges two worlds in this stunning debut novel based on true events. Manjiro and his fellow fishermen find refuge on a remote island after a storm destroys their ship. When they are rescued by an American whaleboat captain and given the chance to return home with him, Manjiro accepts the offer. His encounters with a land that he has been taught is barbaric and his subsequent efforts to return to Japan shape him into an admirable character. Preus places readers in the young mans shoes, whether he is on a ship or in a Japanese prison. Her deftness in writing is evident in two poignant scenes, one in which Manjiro realizes the similarities between the Japanese and the Americans and the other when he reunites with his Japanese family. A sailor named Jolly and an American teen express the racism he experiences in America. Both of these characters gain sympathy from readers as their backgrounds are revealed, and as one of them comes to respect Manjiro. The truths he learns about himself and his fellow men and women are beautifully articulated. Manjiros own drawings are well placed throughout the narrative and appropriately captioned. Preus includes extensive historical notes and a bibliography for those who want to know more about the man and the world in which he lived.

*STARRED review from Publishers Weekly*

In picture book author (The Peace Bell) Preuss excellent first novel, based on the true story of Manjiro Nakahama, Manjiro is 14 in 1841 when he is shipwrecked in a storm. An American whaling ship eventually rescues him and his shipmates, and while his fellow fishermen are fearful of the “barbarians,” Manjiro is curious about them and the world. Knowing Japanese law forbids him from returning home because hes left the country, he learns English and whaling, gets a new name and family with the captain, and eventually seeks his way in America as the first known Japanese to set foot there. He finds innovative ways to challenge both hardships and prejudice, and never loses his curiosity. Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking in its depictions of early anti-Asian sentiment. She succeeds in making readers feel every bit as “other” as Manjiro, while showing America at its best and worst through his eyes. Period illustrations by Manjiro himself and others, as well as new art from Jillian Tamaki, a glossary, and other background information are included.

Review:

"In picture book author (The Peace Bell) Preus's excellent first novel, based on the true story of Manjiro Nakahama, Manjiro is 14 in 1841 when he is shipwrecked in a storm. An American whaling ship eventually rescues him and his shipmates, and while his fellow fishermen are fearful of the 'barbarians,' Manjiro is curious about them and the world. Knowing Japanese law forbids him from returning home because he's left the country, he learns English and whaling, gets a new name and family with the captain, and eventually seeks his way in America as the first known Japanese to set foot there. He finds innovative ways to challenge both hardships and prejudice, and never loses his curiosity. Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking in its depictions of early anti-Asian sentiment. She succeeds in making readers feel every bit as 'other' as Manjiro, while showing America at its best and worst through his eyes. Period illustrations by Manjiro himself and others, as well as new art from Jillian Tamaki, a glossary, and other background information are included. Ages 10 — 14. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Synopsis:

Fast-paced and full of adventure, this fascinating, true story is based on a real incident that occurred in 1841, and follows a young Japanese boy as he travels from Japan to America and back to Japan.

Synopsis:

In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Accolades and Praise for Heart of a Samurai

2011 Newbery Honor Book

New York Times Bestseller

NPR Backseat Book Club pick

"A terrifc biographical novel by Margi Preus." -Wall Street Journal

*STARRED REVIEW*

"It’s a classic fish-out-of-water story (although this fish goes into the water repeatedly), and it’s precisely this classic structure that gives the novel the sturdy bones of a timeless tale. Backeted by gritty seafaring episodes—salty and bloody enough to assure us that Preus has done her research—the book’s heart is its middle section, in which Manjiro, allegedly the first Japanese to set foot in America, deals with the prejudice and promise of a new world. By Japanese tradition, Manjiro was destined to be no more than a humble fisherman, but when his 10-year saga ends, he has become so much more."

--Booklist, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*

"Illustrated with Manjiro’s own pencil drawings in addition to other archival material and original art from Tamaki, this is a captivating fictionalized (although notably faithful) retelling of the boy’s adventures. Capturing his wonder, remarkable willingness to learn, the prejudice he encountered and the way he eventually influenced officials in Japan to open the country, this highly entertaining page-turner."

--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*

"Stunning debut novel. Preus places readers in the young man’s shoes, whether he is on a ship or in a Japanese prison. Her deftness in writing is evident in two poignant scenes, one in which Manjiro realizes the similarities between the Japanese and the Americans and the other when he reunites with his Japanese family."

--School Library Journal, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*

"Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking in its depictions of early anti-Asian sentiment. She succeeds in making readers feel every bit as “other” as Manjiro, while showing America at its best and worst through his eyes."

--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"First-time novelist Preus turns the true story of Manjiro into an action-packed boy's adventure tale."

--Horn Book

Synopsis:

In a fascinating work of historical fiction based on a true story of the first Japanese person to enter the United States, 14-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, is rescued in 1841 by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions stranded on a remote island.

About the Author

Margi Preus has written many popular plays and picture books for children. She teaches a childrens literature course at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, where she writes for Colder by the Lake Comedy Theater and also watches for whales on Lake Superior. This is her first novel. Visit her online at www.margipreus.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Lucky Sparkplug, February 2, 2012 (view all comments by Lucky Sparkplug)
This book deserves all the praise it is receiving. It is a "biographical novel" disguised as a page turning adventure story. I had a hard time putting this book down. Manjiro is a fascinating character only made more complex when you find out this novel is based on a true story. No matter what he faces violence, hunger, prejudice, he does it with dignity and much can be learned from him. Preus is a great storyteller and there were many times I was grateful Manjiro's story was in such capable hands. This is a book that is enjoyable for all, young and old. It would be a great choice to read aloud because the action would keep everyone's attention. This was a fantastic and exciting book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780810989818
Author:
Preus, Margi
Publisher:
Amulet Books
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Nakahama, Manjiro
Subject:
Japan Relations United States.
Subject:
Children s-Adventure Stories
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
10-14

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction
Children's » Historical Fiction » Asia
Children's » Middle Readers » General

Heart of a Samurai New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Amulet Books - English 9780810989818 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In picture book author (The Peace Bell) Preus's excellent first novel, based on the true story of Manjiro Nakahama, Manjiro is 14 in 1841 when he is shipwrecked in a storm. An American whaling ship eventually rescues him and his shipmates, and while his fellow fishermen are fearful of the 'barbarians,' Manjiro is curious about them and the world. Knowing Japanese law forbids him from returning home because he's left the country, he learns English and whaling, gets a new name and family with the captain, and eventually seeks his way in America as the first known Japanese to set foot there. He finds innovative ways to challenge both hardships and prejudice, and never loses his curiosity. Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking in its depictions of early anti-Asian sentiment. She succeeds in making readers feel every bit as 'other' as Manjiro, while showing America at its best and worst through his eyes. Period illustrations by Manjiro himself and others, as well as new art from Jillian Tamaki, a glossary, and other background information are included. Ages 10 — 14. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by , Fast-paced and full of adventure, this fascinating, true story is based on a real incident that occurred in 1841, and follows a young Japanese boy as he travels from Japan to America and back to Japan.
"Synopsis" by ,
In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Accolades and Praise for Heart of a Samurai

2011 Newbery Honor Book

New York Times Bestseller

NPR Backseat Book Club pick

"A terrifc biographical novel by Margi Preus." -Wall Street Journal

*STARRED REVIEW*

"It’s a classic fish-out-of-water story (although this fish goes into the water repeatedly), and it’s precisely this classic structure that gives the novel the sturdy bones of a timeless tale. Backeted by gritty seafaring episodes—salty and bloody enough to assure us that Preus has done her research—the book’s heart is its middle section, in which Manjiro, allegedly the first Japanese to set foot in America, deals with the prejudice and promise of a new world. By Japanese tradition, Manjiro was destined to be no more than a humble fisherman, but when his 10-year saga ends, he has become so much more."

--Booklist, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*

"Illustrated with Manjiro’s own pencil drawings in addition to other archival material and original art from Tamaki, this is a captivating fictionalized (although notably faithful) retelling of the boy’s adventures. Capturing his wonder, remarkable willingness to learn, the prejudice he encountered and the way he eventually influenced officials in Japan to open the country, this highly entertaining page-turner."

--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*

"Stunning debut novel. Preus places readers in the young man’s shoes, whether he is on a ship or in a Japanese prison. Her deftness in writing is evident in two poignant scenes, one in which Manjiro realizes the similarities between the Japanese and the Americans and the other when he reunites with his Japanese family."

--School Library Journal, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*

"Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking in its depictions of early anti-Asian sentiment. She succeeds in making readers feel every bit as “other” as Manjiro, while showing America at its best and worst through his eyes."

--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"First-time novelist Preus turns the true story of Manjiro into an action-packed boy's adventure tale."

--Horn Book

"Synopsis" by , In a fascinating work of historical fiction based on a true story of the first Japanese person to enter the United States, 14-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, is rescued in 1841 by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions stranded on a remote island.
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