written by Kate Riggs
2011 (The Creative Company)
Source: Orange County Public Library
Samurai were warriors who fought other people to protect their master and his land.
The samurais started fighting almost 900 years ago. Their job was to defend their masters, or daimyo. Before the samurai, there was a class of fighters called the yamato. Starting around age seven, boys studied martial arts and learned how to use weapons like bows and arrows and swords. At age 7, I think I was learning how to tie my shoes. Jeff Barger, Samurai Shoe Tie Guy! Samurai swords were called katanas. Other weapons included spears, metal folding fans (my personal favorite) and a suit of armor. All of this was necessary as samurais often fought to the death. As opposed to asking for a time out to get a band-aid. That would be my move. Samurai were disciplined in their fighting and in their personal behavior. They were loyal and respectful. With the advent of a large Japanese army, the samurai class of warriors were no longer needed by the end of the 19th century. Their legacy lives on in the current use of martial arts.
I really like this book because the text and subject matter are perfect for reluctant readers. There's great information but not a ton of text which is what you need for students who are not skilled in researching topics. Samurai is also a terrific mentor text for creating a nonfiction book. I like the format of text on the left and photographs on the right with a caption and/or fun fact. That works well for my second grade writers. There is a series of eight books about different warriors available from The Creative Company.