SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES
by Eleanor Coerr
Published by Puffin Books
Book Depository purchase | Paperback edition
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‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is based on the life of a real little girl who lived in Japan from 1943 to 1955.
She was in Hiroshima when the United States Air Force dropped an atom bomb on that city in an attempt to end World War II. Ten years later she died as a result of radiation from the bomb. Her courage made Sadako a heroine to children in Japan. This is the story of Sadako.’
Guest Reviewer – My Daughter, Madi.
Given her own recent battle with cancer, this book resonated with my 10-year-old daughter when she read it. So much so that she has set herself a goal of making a thousand paper cranes before the end of this year. I thought it would be fitting for this post to include her review of Sadako.
‘This book is about a Japanese girl called Sadako. On the 6th August 1954, when Sadako was two years old, there was an atom bomb dropped by the U.S.A near her home in Hiroshima, Japan.
Sadako was very good at running at school, she hoped to get picked for the school running team. When she was 12 she started getting dizzy spells especially when she was running. One day she passed out when she was running and was taken to hospital. That’s when they found out she had Leukaemia from the radiation from the atom bomb. She needed to stay in hospital but her parents weren’t allowed to stay with her over night.
One afternoon her best friend from school, Chizuko, visited Sadako and made her a golden paper crane. She reminded Sadako about the ancient Japanese legend that if a sick person folds 1000 cranes they with become healthy again. Chizuko showed Sadako how to make a paper crane, she didn’t find it very easy at the start but after a while of practice she got the hang of it! When Sadako’s family came to visit she showed them her special golden crane. Her brother promised that he would hang all of the cranes she makes from the roof.
Although she was becoming more weak by the minute, she kept telling herself “I’ve got to keep folding the cranes!” She tried to fold as many cranes as she could before she became too weak to fold anymore. Sadly she only managed to fold 644 cranes before she died. All of her classmates completed the remaining 356 cranes and all 1000 cranes were buried with her. In Japan, there is a statue of Sadako holding a huge crane.
I would strongly recommend this book for good readers that like true stories. It is a short story so it won’t take long to read. It is very sad, although I found it quite interesting. If I would rate this book out of a 10 it would definitely be an 11/10.’
My thoughts on this book. It’s a story that highlights a dark time in history. Sadako was an innocent victim who had to make the best of the cards she had been dealt. Childhood cancer is a tough road, and every child who goes through the journey is a hero. We are so proud of our own daughter and her fight.
Thanks to the author for sharing this story with the world. It’s so great that the battle of a young girl like Sadako continues to inspire so many, years after her tragic passing.
Recommended for readers 8+.
Note: Although the book states that Sadako didn’t finish her 1000 cranes, my further research has found other sources that say she completed even more. Whether she did or didn’t, it’s the underlying message of her story that is important.
If you would like to see what sort of impact brave Sadako has had, then jump over to Wikipedia for more information.
A monument was built in her honor at the Hiroshima Peace Park, Japan. It includes glass displays filled with paper cranes folded and donated by well wishers and supporters.
I thought the following video about an art project by Jeff Brown to honor Sadako was evidence of the endurance of her inspiration.
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