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Heart of a Samurai

Written by: Margi Preus
Narrated by: James Yaegashi
Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the critics say

“Preus mixes fact with fiction in a tale that is at once adventurous, heartwarming, sprawling, and nerve-racking ...." ( Publishers Weekly)
What members say
Average Customer Ratings

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  • Kimberly
  • 2016-02-21

Wonderful !

I really enjoyed this book !! The reader really brought this amazing story to life , I look forward to the next book !

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marc
  • 2013-03-25

a beautiful story of the first Japanese boy in Ame

Would you consider the audio edition of Heart of a Samurai to be better than the print version?

yes

What other book might you compare Heart of a Samurai to and why?

Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa

Which character – as performed by James Yaegashi – was your favorite?

John

If you could take any character from Heart of a Samurai out to dinner, who would it be and why?

John.it would be interesting to hear how his thoughts progressedfrom childhood to adult

Any additional comments?

the fantastic story about the early history of Japan and America

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kieren Calland Metts
  • 2020-01-31

Beautifully written story of love, courage and tolerance

And adventure! On top of that, it’s based on a true story. Lovely tale for its target age group of 8-12. Can’t wait to read more from Margi Preus!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rebecca Cooper
  • 2020-01-29

fantastic!

I really enjoyed this story, the narrator was really easy to listen to. I really love learning about the history of Japan and how Japan and America come to know each other.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chezky
  • 2019-03-20

11 year old son loved it

I carpool my 11 year old son and his friend and they both really enjoyed the story. They thought it was really cool that it is based on a true story.

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  • Josh Alford
  • 2017-08-31

great book

wonderful historical fiction for kids. great story and characters provide an interesting view of history from the other side of the world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • kristen
  • 2012-02-20

Perfect book for 5-9th graders

Where does Heart of a Samurai rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Excellent.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

Which character – as performed by James Yaegashi – was your favorite?

Mr. Yaegashi performed wonderfully in all characters. I particularly liked how he performed the Japanese language parts.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • daveandemily
  • 2019-09-19

great story, couple of places where it skipped

I love this story, and the reader. It was awesome. there were several places where the story skipped a line or a little bit ahead. I am not sure if it was just my download or if it was the actual problem with the recording

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  • Kuran
  • 2017-06-01

Good

Would you consider the audio edition of Heart of a Samurai to be better than the print version?

this book is good because it tells about a story of a real person and how he lived in the old time

What other book might you compare Heart of a Samurai to and why?

Home of the brave

Which scene was your favorite?

my favorite scene is when Majiro becomes a samurai and comes home

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  • SunshineAndRain
  • 2012-07-24

A story with heart and history

Would you listen to Heart of a Samurai again? Why?

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).

Who was your favorite character and why?

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).

Any additional comments?

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.