Heart of a Samurai: Presentation by Author Margi Preus

Heart of a Samurai

Sunday, January 22, 2012, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Venue: McDermott Suite, McDermott Library
Admission: Free
Season: 2011-12 The UT Dallas Asia Center, in partnership with the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, presents: Heart of a Samurai: Presentation by Author Margi Preus

Bring the entire family to meet author Margi Preus and hear the remarkable story of John Manjiro, retold in her first novel Heart of a Samurai, a 2011 Newbery Honor Book.

About the Author

Margi Preus is a children's book author and playwright. Her first novel for young people, Heart of a Samurai, is a 2011 Newbery Honor Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and the recipient of the 2011 Asian Pacific American Award for Children's Literature.

Her picture books include the recently released Celebritrees; Historic and Famous Trees of the World. Margi served as the artistic director of Colder by the Lake Comedy Theatre for 25 years and, with current director Jean Sramek, has written hundreds of comedy sketches, a couple of comic operas, and dozens of plays.

About the 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.  

About the Program

Preus uses slides to illustrate the story's background and history, her research, and what she's discovered about the legacy of this 160-year-old friendship.  She also relates how the unusual story of a close relationship between two cities, her own hometown of Duluth, Minnesota and Ohara-Isami, Japan, led her to this captivating story.  The program is suitable for grade 4 students through adults.

For more information contact:
Monique Wedderburn
[email protected]

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