The Bamboo Sword

bambooswordThe Bamboo Sword
by Margi Preus
Amulet Books, 2015

Bright, ambitious, and responsible for his own care, we follow young Yoshi who dreams of being a samurai, but is forced out onto the streets by bullies.  He befriends strangers to make a living.  Fascinated with travel he visits the harbor where the first American ships to visit Japan in 1853 to demand access to Japanese ports.  We also meet Jack, a cabin boy on the American ships.  While on shore, Jack becomes separated from the other Americans.  When Jack sees Yoshi being bullied, he can’t stop himself from lending a hand and the two become tied to each other for survival and to get Jack back to the ship. Neither speaks the other’s language and it’s only their combined cleverness and quick wits that keep them alive.  Twists, turns, and surprises convene as the two negotiate between samurai, bullies, and the tensions of the American’s demanding access to long-closed Japanese ports.

A history of America’s first encounter with Japan is included following the story.
This is a follow up story of Preus’ Heart of a Samarai.

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