Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Complete Story of Sadako Sasaki

Dicicco, Sue Mantle and  Sasaki, Masahiro
The Complete Story of Sadako Sasaki 
September 21st 2018 by Armed with the Arts Inc
(Or maybe April?)

Sadako was born in 1943 and was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Amazingly, her family (with the exception of her grandmother) survived, and her older brother contributed to this book. Their house was destroyed, so the mother and two children traveled across the countryside to stay with relatives. The father eventually rejoined them. When Hiroshima started to be rebuilt, the family moved back and tried to put their lives back together. The father had had a successful business, but that ran into trouble, and when he cosigned a loan for a neighboring business that then decamped, the family struggled even more. Sadako became ill, and even though the family knew that many people in Hiroshima had been sickened by the bomb, they hoped that Sadako would be okay. Unfortunately, the leukemia was very aggressive, and Sadako was given a year to live. She spent much of her time folding paper cranes, even though paper was scarce, as a way to help her wish of getting better, and when she finished her first thousand, she starting folding them as a way to wish that her parents would do better economically. After she died, her friends and family raised money for a memorial in honor of all the hibakusha who died.
Strengths: This is an excellent overview of what happened in Hiroshima, from the viewpoint of the bombings effects on one family. While I was familiar with Sadako's story, I appreciated that this really was a more complete version, encompassing the family's life before, during, and just after the bombing, as well as a depiction of Sadako's life before she became ill. This made the story even more effective and poignant. The aftermath of her death, especially with the input of her brother, was very moving as well. Combined with this fresh, updated cover, I can see this being very popular in elementary or middle schools, where it is never to early to gently inform students about the grim effects of war.
Weaknesses: I could have done without the illustrations (similar to the cover); they were lovely, but there were enough pictures of Sadako, her family, and her environment that they weren't really necessary. I can see younger readers enjoying them, however.
What I really think: I will definitely purchase as a companion to the great novel by Burkinshaw, The Last Cherry Blossom, Yep's Hiroshima, and Stelson's Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story.

Also a great choice to have is Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, an oldie but a goodie from my own middle school years, 1977, which I thought my library had. Might need to replace.

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. This sounds interesting, which I didn't think it would be given the cover. I see you felt the same way. Ohhh, another book for the TBR pile.