Praised as “a timeless tale” by Booklist in a starred review, this Newbery Honor book by Margi Preus explores the cultural divide between the East and West circa 1841. When Manjiro, a Japanese teenager, is thrown from his fishing boat during a storm, he’s rescued by an American whaling ship. Befriending the ship’s captain, Manjiro decides to travel with the crew to Massachusetts. But years later, when Manjiro attempts to return to his homeland, he’s imprisoned as an outsider.
©2010 Margi Preus (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
“Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking ...." (Publishers Weekly)
Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa
John.it would be interesting to hear how his thoughts progressedfrom childhood to adult
the fantastic story about the early history of Japan and America
Beth A B
What do Moby Dick and Edo-era Japan have in common and why should you care? The two eras overlap in the incredibly well-written and engulfing story by Margi Preus, Heart of A Samurai.
The story opens in the mid 1800’s. Manjiro is a young fisherman whose boat is wrecked somewhere off the coast of Japan. At the time, Japan was a fully closed society. Citizens had no contact with other nations, and if they did, they’d be excommunicated and banned from returning.
Stuck on a rock with little food and water, Manjiro and his mates are discovered by a whaling boat from New Bedford, Massachusetts. They spend several months on this boat as men on whaling hunts (a la Moby Dick).
Manjiro is the sole member of the Japanese fishing team who learns English. Despite the fact that his culture has taught him to think of Westerners as devils, he begins to believe in the American Dream and chooses to go back with the whalers to Massachusetts when the others are dropped off in the Sandwich Islands (known now as Hawaii).
Heart of A Samuari is about the tug-of-war between following one's dreams, while yearning for the security. This is the classic crisis that all children can relate to: who doesn't want to be themselves, follow their desires, and to uncharted territories—while also wanting the comforts of family and familiar customs. Which one should you choose when you can only choose one?
This story is well written and engulfing and provides realistic historical references as well.
Highly recommended, a Newbery Honor Book.
Manjiro is my favorite character. Manjiro holds on to his culture, draws from his past experiences, knowledge of what he knows is right and wrong, while looking for guidance from his elders. Manjiro is a positive role model demonstrating patience, adaptability, intelligence, and maturity. He is a curious boy, who appreciates education and is not afraid to work hard.
Mr. Yaegashi performed wonderfully in all characters. I particularly liked how he performed the Japanese language parts.
Perfect book for school and classroom readings because it touches on poverty, Japanese history, american history, the gold rush, American and Japanese prejudice, and ties it all together with samurai lessons that make the foundation of Manjiro's character.
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