Friday, July 24, 2015

Great Historical Fiction for Kids

I thought it would be fun to bring back a review I did about a year and half ago.  This story is so good and rarely gets the attention it deserves.  It is a page turner and if you missed it the first time ... fear not.  Here it is again.

Today I am sharing a book that won a Newbery Honor in 2011.  It isn't one I hear about that often, and that is a shame.  Margi Preus is a brilliant author and the way she makes history personal for kids will draw them into her stories immediately. 

My middle son, who is somewhat of a particular reader (ok ... picky, I was trying to be nice) was hooked on this story by the second chapter and didn't put it down until he was done.  Do you really need more convincing than that?

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Title:       Heart of a Samurai

Author:   Margi Preus

Target:    Grades 4-8

Series:     No

Newbery Honor Book

What this book is about:
Inspired by a true story, this book is about Manjiro, a fourteen year old fisherman from Japan.  He and his compatriots are stranded on a desert island after a storm.  The problem is that the year is 1841 and Japan is closed off from all contact with the rest of the world.  When an American whaling ship saves them, they are confronted with people and customs of which they have no knowledge.  Manjiro eagerly tries to learn this new culture, but even with all the new opportunities, he longs for his home.

Why I love this book:
Margi Preus writes wonderful historical fiction.  She manages to take a place and time which captures our attention and craft a story that is compelling in it’s setting.  By bringing this story to America she is able to show kids that even during the gold rush, Japan was a country completely isolated.  She even teaches kids about whaling!

I also love that her stories, while fiction, are based on real people and events.  The idea that most of what is shared in the story actually happened makes it even more compelling.  In the back of the book she shares information on the actual Manjiro and lets the reader know where she took liberties.  This story had both myself and my sons hooked from the very start.

Who this book is for:
Kids who like adventure stories will love this.  I also have to recommend her other book,  Shadow on the Mountain which my family devoured.

Final thoughts:
I really can’t wait for her next book.  Once again it is set in Norway - but I'm not biased, oh no.  I mean a book about the land of my forefathers is no reason for me to jump for joy - no not me.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Heart of a Samurai  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.

1 comment:

  1. Netgalley has the ARC of The Bamboo Sword, the sequel that comes out on 9/15.