Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
by Pamela S. Turner
Grades 5 & up
This well-researched, heavily documented look into the life of one of the first superstar samurai is also a well-crafted, action-packed adventure story. Minamoto Yoshitune was spared as a baby when his father was defeated by the Taira, a rival samurai family. Raised by monks, he escaped as a young teen and eventually reunited with his half-brother to try and regain control of Japan as well as family honor. He was a daring warrior who lived life on the edge, creating as many enemies as admirers. Turner does an excellent job differentiating between the facts and her assumptions used to fill in the blanks. The story is rounded out with her somewhat snarky but often hilarious opinions. The author’s note and chapter notes (at the end, so they do not interfere with the flow of the story) anchor this book firmly in the context of the world in which it was lived. Highly recommended for grades 5 & up.