Synopses & Reviews
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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
Some people wont believe any of this story. You might be one of them. But every single word is true. Tony DiMarco does catch a murderer, solve a mystery, and find a treasure—all in the first few days he moves, unexpectedly, to 13 Hangmans Court in Boston. The fact that he also turns thirteen at the same time is not a coincidence.
So begins the story of Tony and his friends—five thirteen-year-old boys, all living in the same house in the same attic bedroom, but at different times in history! None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure.
“Some people won’t believe any of this story. You might be one of them. But every single word is true. Tony DiMarco does catch a murderer, solve a mystery, and find a treasure—all in the first few days after he moves, unexpectedly, to 13 Hangmen’s Court in Boston. The fact that he also turns thirteen at the same time is not a coincidence.”
So begins the story of Tony and his friends—five 13-year-old boys, all of whom are living in the same house in the same attic bedroom but at different times in history! None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure.
Praise for 13 Hangmen"Fascinating tale. Ghostly fun in old Boston."--Kirkus Reviews
"The book’s design nicely differentiates Tony’s story, set in 2009, from the past narratives. Recommend this engaging historical mystery to readers who devoured Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures series and are ready for a longer, more complex adventure."
"Corriveau merrily ransacks historical episodes and figures (e.g., the Great Molasses Flood, the Underground Railroad, Boston mayor John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald) and spins, twists, and manipulates their stories to advance the DiMarco family mystery. The result is a novel that agilely balances humor and tension."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This is an exceptionally good story, with a wry, humorous tone that has particular boy appeal. It covers baseball, history, sibling rivalry, girls, and mystery, and folds in the space-time continuum."
--School Library Journal
Nicky Flynns life just got a whole lot harder. His parents are going through a messy divorce, and as a result hes starting a new life, in a new city, in a new school. Now his mom has brought home Reggie, an eighty-pound German shepherd fresh from the animal shelter, who used to be a seeing-eye dog. At first Nick isnt sure about this canine intrusion—its just another in a series of difficult changes. Soon, however, Nick is on the path to finding out why a seeing-eye dog would be left at an animal shelter, and along the way discovers that Reggie is a true friend that Nick can rely on. But when he tries to reconnect with his dad, Nick puts everything on the line, including the life of his new best friend.
Art Corriveau is a brilliant new voice for middle-grade fiction. How I, Nicky Flynn, Got a Life (and a Dog) is a heartfelt and honest look at the effects of divorce and the wonders of friendship.
F&P Level: T
F&P Genre: RF
About the Author
Art Corriveaus first novel, Housewrights, was for adults and was published by Penguin in 2002. Library Journal called it one of the better debut novels of [the] year,” while Publishers Weekly said Corriveau is a smooth, evocative writer who creates engaging character.” His adult short fiction has been anthologized in literary journals in the United States, the UK, and Canada, and as a travel writer he has lived in and written about Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand, and Hong Kong. He holds an MFA in writing from the University of Michigan and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.