Parents' Guide to

Heart of a Samurai

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Fish-out-of-water adventure swimming with historical detail.

Heart of a Samurai Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

MUST read!

it is a fantastic book, based on a true story. great role model who overcomes barriers of prejudice, language and social status. there is a little violence as she describes whaling practices. but it is mindful of the audience's age and above all still appropriate. My daughter and I picked it for our book club and we all loved it, we both felt we learned something new. It is a fantastic introduction to the topic of immigrants, different cultures, a lot to discuss with your kids.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (6):

Based on the true story of Manjiro’s travels, this story offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of the early 19th century. It touches on American aspirations as a global power as well as Japan’s isolation. The author's descriptions of life on a whaling ship feel particularly authentic, and she ably uses Manjiro’s adventures to touch on economic, cultural, and political themes.

Readers may find thin characters more educational than interesting, and dialogue overstuffed with eager historical notes. Indeed, the characters never quite get off the page, but the broader tale itself is captivating. Like Manjiro, readers will find much to pique their interest, and the author helpfully recommends plenty of extra reading. The book is beautifully presented, with drawings by Manjiro, quotations from Hagakure: Book of the Samurai, and extensive supporting material.

Book Details

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