Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Multicultural Children’s Book Day&Giveaway: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature



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I'm sharing this book with you today in conjunction with the Multicultural Children's Book Day. Sponsors are listed above in the image at the top of this post.

The Mission of offering this special Book Day event is as follows: Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.
Heart of a Samurai
About the Book:
A 2011 Newbery Honor Book
In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Margi Preus
About the Author:
Margi Preus' first novel for young people, Heart of a Samurai, is a 2011 Newbery Honor Book, an ALSC Notable Book and a recipient of the Asian Pacific American Award for Children's Literature, among other honors. Her newest picture book, Celebritrees; Historic and Famous Trees of the World, is a NYPL 100 Books for Reading and Sharing selection and picked by Parents Magazine as one of the top 20 children's books of 2011. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota where she likes to ski, hike, paddle a kayak, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

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My Review:

 Heart of a Samurai is a story that could be compared to Henry Melville's Moby Dick. Based on true events that occurred in the life of Manjiro, also known as John Mung, this book shows us just how dynamic and action packed his life was. But also shows us how sometimes prejudices could definitely come into play and cause even further disruption.

 Manjiro was a very inquisitive young man but incredibly smart and achieved anything that he set his mind to. And I would venture to guess that he led an exciting life that ended at the ripe old age of 71, but had it not happened the way that it did it probably would not have been so. Young Manjiro found himself stranded on a visibly deserted island along with four others. When at first arriving found it to be their saving grace but after some time realized that they would soon die there.

 Convinced that death was imminent, along came Captain Whitfield and his crew aboard the John Howland, an American whaling ship. Thinking that the Americans were barbarians and out to "get" them, there were terrified but Manjiro and his sweet spirit helped to overcome their fears quickly. He did this by learning some of the American language so that he could communicate with their rescuers.

 Not long after being rescued the main character Manjiro developed and life long friendship with the ship's captain, after which changed Manjiro's life drastically. The book showcases many other adventures that happened in his life as well as the hopes he had of one day becoming a samurai. Heart of a Samurai is an excellent book, a real page turner and is sure to delight young readers with its adventurous spirit. This book is definitely rich enough and vibrant enough to become a classic. My boys enjoyed it immensely! Manjiro was very brave and is an inspiration to many!

Wisdom Tales is offering our readers a great giveaway in honor of Multicultural Children's Book Day, go to this link or this link to learn more. Good Luck!!

You are welcome to visit the other bloggers that will be reviewing for this special event below:
Special thanks to all of our gracious sponsors for the Multicultural Children's Book Day, we salute you! Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & LowBooks, Chronicle Books, and Susan Daniel Fayad, author of My Grandfather’sMasbaha and to the co-creators of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature event Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press.