Thoughts on stories and a short book review for “The Heart of a Samurai”

I have been extremely busy the last couple of weeks and have had my children write up a few book reviews for me. It’s been so helpful! But besides that extra help they provide by writing up something for the MHM weekly post is that I get to know what my child’s take aways are from a particular book. And obviously, that is extremely important.

The last couple of books, both from last week and the one below, are (for the most part) about people in circumstances they didn’t expect to find themselves in. Which made me think about a sermon I just listened to by Matthew Maher (he’s an incredible pastor over here in NJ!). If you have time to listen, you definitely should. My quick take on it is that sometimes we find ourselves in difficult circumstances and we have one of two options – either react in faith, or react in what will result in bitterness, fear, or anger. Maybe that’s an oversimplification, but I believe that’s what it boils down to. One trusts the hand that allowed the circumstance, and the other doesn’t.

In the autobiography of Gavin Peacock, a seemingly terrible situation with his son turned into a growing of Peacock’s faith. Below, you will see that being shipwrecked allowed for an adventure of a lifetime.

My point in prefacing this book review with all these thoughts is that putting these stories in the hearts and minds of our children will help them navigate their own inevitable “terrible situations” and “shipwrecks.” By exposing our children to good literature, we prepare them step by step to think about or at least put seeds in their minds of how other great stories were able to overcome or get through their circumstances in beautiful ways.

I hope we are all reminded of the blessing of a good story. God’s Word uses stories as a way of communicating frequently (again, listen to the sermon referenced above!). It’s one thing to inform your children of a concept. It’s an entirely different world to share a story which applies that concept. And besides, the more we read truly good books that force us to think, the wiser we will be.

On that note, here is our almost 12 year old daughter’s book review on “The Heart of a Samurai.”

Book review

I loved this book. I loved it because it showed the risks you sometimes have to make in life. It also was encouraging to see Manjiro never give up. I recommend it to anyone who likes adventure. Manjiro, the main character was shipwrecked on an island for many months. He was 14 when he left Japan, knowing nothing of the world. Denzo, Goemon, Jusuke, and Toraemon were the people Manjiro was first shipwrecked with. Manjiro and his friends were sailing for fish one day when a big storm came. Their boat drifted for days until finally, it stopped. But instead of landing on an island, they crashed into a huge rock that shattered their boat. That’s how they were shipwrecked. Sometime later, a Caption named Caption Whitfield rescued them. Manjiro and Caption Whitfield had a very special connection. Caption Whitfield had even invited Manjiro to America – and Manjiro gladly accepted! He had many adventures and struggles in America. Manjiro made new friends that he never forgot. He never gave up trying to get back to Japan to see his family. He tried to make money in every way possible – the gold rush in California and whale hunting. (Read the book to find out if he ever makes it back to Japan!) I would absolutely read this book again and I hope you will read it and love it just as much as I do.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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