Monday, April 03, 2006

Book Review: Sadako and the Paper Cranes

I'm afraid our normal school time routine has gone by the wayside over the last three weeks, and even reading has been hit and miss as I keep losing my voice. My plan was that we should study Japan for geography. We didn't get far beyond sampling sushi and Angel writing a notebook page about origami, karate and karaoke, but we did manage to read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. Based on a true story, this short book tells of a young Japanese girl living in Hiroshima in the 1950s who succumbs to the "atom bomb disease", leukaemia. She keeps up her spirits by trying to fold a thousand paper cranes, believing that if she does so she will recover.

The story is a sad one, but told in fairly simple terms that make it suitable as a read aloud for younger children (say seven and up?) as well as an easy read for older ones. It makes a good introduction to an unpleasant aspect of twentieth century history without being too graphic, and gives a lot of incidental detail about life in a Japanese city. Our copy also included instructions for folding paper cranes, which led to a short foray into origami.

Note:The book includes a number of references to Japanese religon, presumably Shinto.


Karen E. said...

My Anne *loves* this book, and anything else about Sadako.

You might also want to check out Eleanor Coerr's "Mieko and the Fifth Treasure." Mieko is a little girl with great artistic talent, but then her hand is hurt in the bombing. Her family and a friend help her to recover and start painting and doing calligraphy again.

The Bookworm said...

Thank you Karen. Sounds good, and I hadn't heard of it.

Karen E. said...

Hope you like it. Anne loves just about anything having to do with Japan.