Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner

Book Summary

Set in 12th century Japan, this biography introduces Western readers to rival Samurai clans, and the incredible story of a particular boy. When your father challenges a rival family and loses, and your mother is captured and you are sent to a monastery, that would seem to be that. However, in strange twists and turns, Minamoto Yoshitsune became a samurai who changed history.
Samurai Rising book cover
Samurai Rising

Book Review

I was very glad to discover this book, because it represents diversity in both setting and content, compared to the usual titles for U.S. middle grade readers. This story is epic, and includes some graphic battles and ritual suicide, so the content is not for the faint-hearted. The information about the rival clan families and politics of the samurai are detailed, and a testament to the idea that truth is pretty strange - even stranger than fiction.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Samurai
  • Family Relationships
  • 12th Century Japan
  • Determination

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

If you liked this book, you might also like . . .

A Single Shard book cover
A Single Shard
Young Fu book cover
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
Where the Red Fern Grows book cover
Where the Red Fern Grows