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The Bamboo Sword — 7 Comments

  1. I enjoyed the relationship that was between the two boys, Jack & Yoshi. They were both very different and I think they both learned a lot from one another. I see this book to be appealing to young boys looking for a good adventure book. The glossary is helpful to understand the Japanese language. I felt it was inspired by historical events.

  2. This book was an interesting look into the Japanese culture through the eyes of a young boy. The action and adventure will appeal to many readers. It is also beneficial to see the two different perspectives, that of Jack the American ship’s boy and Yoshi, the Japanese servant boy. I love that the book also has a glossary, reader’s guide, a detailed author’s note, and some illustrations throughout. I feel this would most appeal to my 5th and 6th grade boys who crave books about adventure and books about historical fiction.

  3. The Bamboo Sword is definitely a book that will appeal to boys especially if they like world history. It is rich in Japanese culture and also a great book on friendship.

  4. Of the five “Camp Read-A-Lot” books that I have read (or listened to) so far, this has been my favorite. 

This story highlights the lives of two boys in their young teens. I found the lives, actions, and thoughts of both boys to be very relatable, even though they are from very different cultures in a different time period. The author did a good job helping the reader see life through his culture— a culture so different from most of us.

Both boys get into sticky situations that left me wondering how they would navigate their way out. I especially appreciated the Japanese character, Yoshi, and his struggle and desire to do what was honorable, but not always easy to do.

I listened to the audio version of this book. The reader was captivating. I found myself eager to listen continue listening to find out how the characters would get out of a particular bind. This book would be especially appealing to late elementary/early middle school boys. Even though the main characters are boys, I can also see it appealing to girls who enjoy adventure stories or stories that take place in different cultures.

  5. I thought this book was very interesting. There were many good lessons including how violence is not always the answer, that people are more similar than different, and how it is important to be yourself and work for your dreams. On top of these lessons, there was also a lot of history. I also liked how the author included paintings and photographs in the book. I think that this book could possibly be a book club book. There are many great discussions that could take place. It could also be used with an art lesson on Japanese art.

  6. I enjoyed this book immensely. The author does a good job of exploring the differences between cultures while emphasizing the similarities. The perspective changes between the two main characters keep the story moving swiftly and is helpful in giving the reader a sense of the absurdity with which each character views the other, even as they begin to notice ways they can relate. I also enjoyed the brief looks into both Jack and Yoshi’s mundane lives before the action of the greater plotline takes off. I loved that the Manjiro character is so closely based on a real person and yet feels very intimate to the story. I really appreciated the notes at the end of the novel regarding the history on which it’s based, and the glossary is a very handy reference for readers. Any female perspective is sadly nearly entirely absent in this story, with only one very marginal servant character who disappears as soon as she’s revealed a convenient plot point. Maybe Preus’ next book could follow Sutematsu Oyama, the first Japanese woman ever to receive higher education and a college degree (after being volunteered by her family to go live in the West at age 11).

  7. The bamboo sword is rich, in character development, in research, and in creative exploration behind real events in history. I am familiar with the author and have high regard for Margi Preus’ in depth research and writing abilities to write about things I have known very little about previously. Just as I appreciated learning about whaling and sailors on a ship in Heart of a Samurai, I appreciate all that was “taught” to the reader about the Japanese and American relationships and ideas about one another, many years ago, in this companion book.
    There is no fluff in this book and will be recommended to my serious minded readers. I love how Yoshi and Jack are 2 boys from very different countries and cultures who save each other’s lives and help to realize that the other race is not made up of barbarians, but just different cultures, different dress, and ways of life. The glossary in the back is very helpful to guide in understanding as one reads. This book is 5 stars! *****

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