Books by Margi Preus

Released: March 24, 2020

"A rousing introduction to the life of a voyageur told from a unique perspective. (map, pronunciation guide, historical and biological notes, recipe, further reading) (Historical fantasy. 7-10)"
Stowing away with French Canadian fur traders in 1792, a loquacious red squirrel embarks on a life-changing adventure. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 4, 2020

"Deeply emotional, intense, and thought-provoking. (pronunciation guide, list of characters, photos, documents, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-18)"
The inhabitants of a village in the mountains of Vichy France quietly carry out clandestine activities as they rescue and hide Jews. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 19, 2017

"A great book for a lazy afternoon: a nod to Nancy that serves up a modern version of the classic teen detective heroine. (Mystery. 11-16)"
Francie is back for another outing in a second mystery set in Minnesota (Enchantment Lake, 2015). Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Preus spins another suspenseful swashbuckler starring a Japanese boy who finds himself caught between cultures. (author's note, glossary, selected bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-13)"
Thirteen-year-old Yoshi is a natural with the sword and relishes the thought of slicing up the hairy, bulbous-nosed barbarian invaders to protect the Sacred Land of the Rising Sun. Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 2015

"Francie may not be a real detective, but she is so confident that there's never really any doubt of her eventual success, making her good company but perhaps not riveting reading for hard-core mystery fans. (Mystery. 11-16)"
Preus, author of the Newbery Honor-winning Heart of a Samurai (2010), is known for her engrossing historical fiction. Now she changes pace and offers a mystery set in the present.Read full book review >
WEST OF THE MOON by Margi Preus
Released: April 1, 2014

"Norwegian history, fiction and folklore intertwine seamlessly in this lively, fantastical adventure and moving coming-of-age story. (glossary, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 11-14)"
Thirteen-year-old Astri is a goat girl, but she's no Heidi; she's a sharp, stone-hard girl who hasn't yet found the goodness inside herself. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"A morally satisfying page turner. (author's note, archival photographs, maps, timeline, selected bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
A teenage boy becomes a spy in Nazi-occupied Norway. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

In 1841, 14-year-old Manjiro joined four others on an overnight fishing trip. Caught by a severe storm, their small rowboat was shipwrecked on a rocky island. Five months later, they were rescued by the crew of a whaling ship from New Bedford. Manjiro, renamed John Mung, was befriended by the captain and eventually lived in his home in New Bedford, rapidly absorbing Western culture. But the plight of his impoverished family in Japan was never far from Manjiro's mind, although he knew that his country's strict isolationist policy meant a death sentence if he returned. Illustrated with Manjiro's own pencil drawings in addition to other archival material and original art from Tamaki, this is a captivating fictionalized (although notably faithful) retelling of the boy's adventures. Capturing his wonder, remarkable willingness to learn, the prejudice he encountered and the way he eventually influenced officials in Japan to open the country, this highly entertaining page-turner is the perfect companion to Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy, by Rhoda Blumberg (2001). (historical note, extensive glossary, bibliography.) (Historical fiction. 9-13)Read full book review >
THE PEACE BELL by Margi Preus
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

A terribly earnest fictionalized version of an actual event. A girl named Katie is visiting her friend Yuko in Japan, and Yuko's grandmother tells them a story. As a child, she had loved the sound of the temple bell, rung 108 times at midnight on New Year's Eve. But during World War II, the bell was shipped away with many others to be used as scrap metal for the war effort. Even as the grandmother grew up, married and had a child, she always missed the deep, sweet sound of the bell. Years after the war, the bell, which American sailors had found and shipped to Minnesota, was returned to its home in Japan as a gesture of friendship. Takahashi's lovely acrylics are as sweet and precise as the text, which includes a few Japanese words. The author's note at the end, however, which recounts the real history, begs the question: With such an interesting story at the book's root, why not tell it instead of making something up? (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1999

Lunge-Larsen and Preus debut with this story of a flower that blooms for the first time to commemorate the uncommon courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl, an Ojibwe of the northern woodlands, knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mash-ki- ki, for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep. When she loses her moccasins in the deep snow, her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring beautiful lady slippers bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched. Drawing on Ojibwe sources, the authors of this fluid retelling have peppered the tale with native words and have used traditional elements, e.g., giving voice to the forces of nature. The accompanying watercolors, with flowing lines, jewel tones, and decorative motifs, give stately credence to the story's iconic aspects. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8) Read full book review >