Heart of A Samurai

Heart of A Samurai

Based on the True Story of Nakahama Manjiro

Book - 2010
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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."
-- Horn Book

ISBN: 9780810989818
Characteristics: 301 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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VaughanPLDianeB May 16, 2018

Wasn't sure what to expect, but was swayed by its Newbery honor medal distinction. A wonderful adventure story about perseverance in the face of much adversity, dotted with touching and funny moments.

Jul 12, 2017

This book is inspiring and has a very important message. It is about never giving up, effort and encouragement. I really enjoyed this book, since it is based on a true story.

nathanielsoria Apr 11, 2017

In this slice of old history not many of us know about, Preus writes an amazing story about a young Japanese boy lost at sea, who finds the bravery to explore onward and into a new world: North America. It's stunning all the young boy goes through in order to get there. His resilience was amazing. I found myself wondering why this story isn't well known. Its message hits home with current racial issues– the young Japanese boy adjustments to being one of the first Japanese to set foot on United States soil. He's met with both adversity and sometimes kindness. And yet he overcomes and does more than anyone could've ever expected. Preus does a great job of both sharing historical context and information, while still being a great storyteller– you come to love the young hero as he meets a lot of interesting characters along the way. It's worth every minute of reading. I highly recommend.

Jul 18, 2016

This book is says an Important message, and is very exciting

Feb 29, 2016

A lovely piece of historical fiction and truly an inspirational book.

Jun 12, 2012

This is a good piece of historical fiction for teens, written with a young protagonist that teens can relate to.

Sep 05, 2011

I really loved this book even though it was kinda slow i absoloutely loved one of my favourite non-fiction books

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Jul 18, 2016

Eric_23 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

Feb 29, 2016

muunlight thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 19, 2015

green_falcon_74 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

white_panda_440 Jul 19, 2014

white_panda_440 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jul 22, 2013

beastdog45 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

blue_panther_65 Jul 04, 2012

blue_panther_65 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 99

Sep 05, 2011

poetrymiss thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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