Margi Preus

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Margi Preus writes children’s books, plays, comic operas and a variety of nonsense in Duluth, Minnesota. Her short fiction for adults and children has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies. She teaches children’s literature at The College of St. Scholastica and an occasional course at University of Minnesota-Duluth. When not doing any of those things, she hikes, skis and paddles her way around the north country and anywhere else she might find herself in the world.


Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World
illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Co., 2011
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0-8050-7829-9

Every tree has a story. Some trees have lived many lifetimes, standing as silent witnesses to history. Some are remarkable for their age and stature; others for their usefulness.

A bristlecone pine tree in California is more than 4,000 years old; an oak in England was used as a hiding place for Robin Hood and his men. The fourteen trees in this book have earned the title Celebritrees for their global fame and significance. Both in fact and in legend, these fascinating trees remind us not only how much pleasure trees bring, but what they can tell us about history.

Heart of a Samurai

Heart of a Samurai
Amulet Books, 2010
ages 9 to 12, ISBN978-0810989818

In 1841, an American ship rescues the Japanese crew of a sunken fishing vessel. Japan's borders are closed, so they set off to America, with the fishermen learning English on the way. Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy, is adopted by the American captain and taken to his New England home. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then in San Francisco panning for gold. After many years, he goes back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Peace Bell

The Peace Bell
illustrated by Hideko Takahashi
Henry Holt, 2008
ages 4 to 8, ISBN978-0805078008

Yuko’s grandmother remembers that when she was a little girl many years ago in Japan, her town’s beautiful temple bell was taken away to be used as scrap metal for the war effort. She thought she’d never see it again. After the war the bell was brought to America by a U. S. Navy crew who found it abandoned in a Japanese shipyard. Most amazing of all, the bell was later returned to Japan as a gesture of friendship between the former warring countries. Told in evocative prose, this inspiring story based on the American-Japanese Friendship Peace Bell celebrates peace between nations.

A Book of Grace

A Book of Grace
edited with Ann Treacy
Sourcebooks, 2002
young adult to adult, ISBN978-1570719776

A collection of poems, prayers and quotes representing faiths and cultures from around the world.

Legend of the Ladyslipper

Legend of the Lady Slipper
written with Lise Lunge Larsen
llustrated by Andrea Arroyo
Houghton Mifflin, 1999
ages 4 to 8, ISBN978-0395905128

The lady slipper grows in the northern woods to mark the courage and strength of a small girl who lived there long ago—a girl who saved her people from a terrible disease by listening carefully to the whispering snow, the rumbling ice, and the dancing northern lights. Illustrated with paintings as graceful and delicate as the lady slipper itself, this unforgettable retelling shows how a child’s lost slippers became one of nature’s most lovely spring flowers.

1999 Great Lakes Book Award Finalist; Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People