It’s astonishing how many of our greatest stories begin with a shipwreck–Robinson Crusoe and The Tempest are obvious but let’s not forget Gilligan’s Island, Lost and all the rest [post soon to come]. This month’s NPR Backseat Book Club pick also begins with a shipwreck. Margi Preus’s Newberry Honor Book Heart of a Samurai tells the story of 14-year-old “Manjiro, a fisherman’s son who dreams of becoming a samurai. When his boat is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, he embarks on a series of adventures that turn his dreams into reality.”
Michele Norris gave such a rave review that I’m inspired to revamp my graduate-student budget and buy a copy. She concludes:
This magnificent novel is based on true events, and the book includes drawings from the real Manjiro. The voice Preus finds for Manjiro is so endearing and the novel so compelling that you, too, will feel you’ve traveled the seas.
What more could you ask of a book?
You can read an excerpt here.