Here at Children’s Bookstore, we are constantly on the hunt for new and innovative books and authors. Not long ago, we recommended a title by Margi Preus entitled Heart of a Samurai. This wonderful book chronicles the trus story of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States. The story follows the adventure of a 13 year-old boy, named Manjiro, who is a crew member on a Japanese fishing boat, the crew is shipwrecked in a storm and marooned on a tiny rock outcrop in the ocean. The crew is picked up by an American whaling vessel and eventually lands at home port in Massachusetts.
Preus’ capacity as a writer shine through with how she expertly weaves the culture, history and experience of Manjiro’s unique journey and experiences in a cogent story that moves well and brings this little-known piece of history to life. The book pushes the envelope of historical fiction and nonfiction in a way that makes the entire story appealing to a young audience.
Preus next work pushes the bounds of genre even more with West of the Moon. This story tightly weaves fantasy, history and the intimate story of two sisters who escape a difficult situation in Norway to find their father in America. The story combines folklore and mythical characters into the book and makes it all come alive through a thrilling adventure.
Following the theme of teenagers who face difficult circumstances, but find a way to prevail through a series of incredible adventures. Shadow on the Mountain follows the struggle of Norwegian a boy named Espen who is a member of the resistance against the Nazis during WWII. Espen escapes death and capture on many occasions while trying to find a way to escape to Switzerland.
The book includes many real photographs, maps and details regarding how young people played a big role in resisting the Nazis and fighting for freedom during this difficult time.
All of Preus’ books are worth reading and make superb opportunities for parents to read with their children. Many families will find rich literary experiences when they read these books as a family.
You can’t go wrong with any book by Margi Preus and we anxiously await her next book!