Monday, November 8, 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

When I first picked up the book Heart of a Samurai I wondered if I would like it because the cover, which had a whale and some fishermen on it, made me think of Melville’s Moby Dick, a book that I didn’t enjoy. To my delight, Preus’ story about Nakahama Manjiro, a shipwrecked young Japanese man who comes to the United States to start a new life, captivated me from the very beginning. Not only was the story of Manjiro full of adventure and history, I got a feel for what it might be like to move to another country and encounter the culture and people of that new land. From the well-realized settings to a character full of depth and life, this was a book that far exceeded my expectations. At the end of the book Ms. Preus included a wealth of information about the real Manjiro and his life in Japan and in the United States.

Publisher’s Weekly, a national book magazine, recently included the book Heart of a Samurai on its 2010 Best Books for Children list. The Sullivan University Library and Learning Resource Center has this well-written book about a remarkable young man, and anyone who is interested may borrow it from the library. Here is a link to more information about the book, and one of the librarians will be glad to help you find it on the shelf if you want to read it.

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