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In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
Timothy Egan

Heart of a Samurai

Heart of a Samurai - Margi Preus An interesting middle-grade novelization of the life of Nakahama Manjiro, believed to be the first person from Japan to visit America in 1843. From humble beginnings, a set of circumstances leads a young boy into an unimaginable life and experience of a world unknown to his home culture. From Manjiro's perspective, the story presents an interesting frame of reference for America at that time in history. Similarly, it is interesting to learn about Japan in that same context. Elements of natural history, whaling, sailing, prejudice, politics, courage and determination make the life of this one man, a valuable teaching moment. An epilogue, a historical note, an environmental note, and a glossary add to teachable components of this story. The reference to samurai in the title comes from Manjiro's desire to be a samurai, of which he would never be allowed in Japan. But for strange twists and turns of his life, he indeed earns the rank of samurai in helping Japan overcome 250 years of isolation and enter into a relationship with America and the west.