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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Day of the Ninja

There is no doubt about it, ninja's are cool! Ninja's have become really popular through movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  and the  
3 Ninjas.  Ninja's even have their on day on December 5!  However, the life of a ninja was not as glamorous as in the movies and they were feared, not respected.  The word NINJA, spelled at the left in Japanese, is written as two characters.  The top character means nin ("to do quietly) and the lower one means ja ("person").

Ninjas were Japanese fighters who lived in Japan about 700 years ago.  A ninja was not just a fighter, but also a spy and an assassin. They had to keep their identities a secret, so they were often disguised as peasants when not on a mission.  While on a mission, their clothes were black so that they could blend in with the night.  If you were going to become a ninja, you were chosen at a young age.  You were trained to become an expert at handling a sword, throwing knives, spears and fighting stars.  Your body became conditioned to overcome obstacles such as high walls and rivers while your mind practiced patience but also quick thinking so  you could survive difficult situations.  If you weren't good at what you did, you didn't survive.

If you think you might want to become a ninja someday, the library has some great resources for you.  Mary Pope Osborne's book Ninjas and Samurai is a great nonfiction companion reader for the Magic Tree House series book 5, entitled Night of the Ninja.  There is also the wonderful "You Wouldn't Want to" series from Scholastic called You Wouldn't Want to be a Ninja Warrior! by John Malam. 

Or perhaps like me, you'd rather read about them than become one.  There is a great nonfiction book, Life as a Ninja:  An Interactive History Adventure by Matt Doeden, where you get to choose the adventures the ninja goes on based on historical events.  Or for the fun, it could never happen kind of read, there are the series books of Ninjago and Ninja Meerkat. 

So come on in and pick out a book about ninjas.  There are times I'm a book ninja and suddenly appear out of the stacks with the book you wanted and place it in your hands.  "How did she know?" you say.  I'll never reveal my secrets!

Become a ninja
Ninja Meerkats
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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