Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

Heart of a Samurai: a Novel Inspired by a True Adventure on the High SeasHeart of a Samurai: a Novel Inspired by a True Adventure on the High Seas by Margi Preus

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the year 1841, 14-year-old Manjiro and his fisherman friends are washed ashore on a remote island after a storm destroys their boat.  Luckily, an American whaling ship finds and rescues them before they starve to death.

The captain of the whaling ship and Manjiro soon form a bond (which was unusual in that time because the Japanese and the Americans didn't normally like or trust each other) and he offers to take Manjiro back to America with him as his son.  This leaves Manjiro to decide whether he should accompany the captain to a new country and live a life of adventure...or to remain with the other young Japanese fishermen and return home.  After much thought, Manjiro chooses to go with the captain and see America.

This book is based on the Manjiro's life story--he is widely accepted as the first Japanese person to set foot on American soil.  Readers will learn of the prejudice he faced in America, as well as his happy reunion with his family in Japan 10 years after the shipwreck that changed his life.

Readers who enjoyed this book might also enjoy A Million Shades of Gray (by Cynthia Kadohata), which is another historical fiction / survival story.

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