Friday, March 3, 2017

Review: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Synopsis: Chizuko came to visit her friend Sadako in the hospital. She had a piece of gold paper that she had cut into a large square. "Watch!" she said, and she folded the paper over and over, and it tumed into a beautiful crane.  "If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, " Chizuko said, "the gods will grant her wish and make her well again." Sadako Sasaki was only twelve years old when she died. She was two when an atom bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima in Japan, where she lived with her family. Ten years later, she had leukemia as a result of radiation from the bomb. Sadako had folded six hundred and forty-four cranes. The flock hung above her bed on strings. Her classmates folded the rest. Today Sadako is a heroine to the children of Japan, who visit her memorial in Hiroshima Peace Park to leave the paper cranes they make in her honor. (from the back of the book)

Review: Short, but with a depth far beyond the word count, this simple story give a human face to the suffering caused by the atomic bombs. Sadako has the entire world going for her – a born runner, swift and sure-footed, with a cheerful, eager outlook on life, Sadako dreamed of being on the running team of her junior high school.
But the year before she was to enter, she was diagnosed with the “atomic bomb disease” – leukemia. This hideous cancer ate away at her body, slowly killing her. Before she died, she attempted to fold 1,000 origami cranes, to fulfill a Japanese legend. 
After she died, her classmates took up her cause, folding cranes and raising money, to build a memorial to Peace. Called Hiroshima PeacePark, the memorial is dedicated to the children of the world and their plea for peace. In the center of the memorial is a statue of Sadako, holding a golden crane.
Coerr tells the story with simple, precise, prose. She changed some of the actual story for fiction’s sake, but that essence remains the same – a life cut short by war.
Excellent reading for young children, a starting place to explain the war and what is can do to others. 

Bookmarks: 4 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-440-47465-5
Year Published: 1977
Date Finished: 2-28-2017
Pages: 64

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