Mieko and the Fifth Treasure by Eleanor Coerr | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Mieko and the Fifth Treasure

Mieko and the Fifth Treasure

4.1 7
by Eleanor Coerr

View All Available Formats & Editions

When the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Mieko's nearby village was turned into ruins, and her hand was badly injured. Mieko loves to do calligraphy more than anything, but now she can barely hold a paintbrush. And she feels as if she has lost something that she can't paint without-the legendary fifth treasure, beauty in the heart. Then she is sent to live with her


When the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Mieko's nearby village was turned into ruins, and her hand was badly injured. Mieko loves to do calligraphy more than anything, but now she can barely hold a paintbrush. And she feels as if she has lost something that she can't paint without-the legendary fifth treasure, beauty in the heart. Then she is sent to live with her grandparents and must go to a new school. But Mieko is brave and eventually learns that time and patience can help with many things, and may even help her find the fifth treasure.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The devastating effects of the bombing of Japan described in Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes are evoked here in the stirring story of Mieko, a gifted calligrapher and artist. After her hand is badly injured in the bombing, the frightened and embittered girl is sent to stay with her grandparents in the country. Mieko fears she has lost the fifth treasure, the ``beauty in the heart'' which holds the key to her artwork. At her new school, she is taunted by some cruel classmates, and the anger she feels only deepens her sense of misery and loss. Eventually, she is lifted from her dark state by the patience and wisdom of her comforting grandparents and through the friendship of Yoshi, a gentle classmate. Mieko's recovery is further aided by Yoshi's Aunt Hisako, a stern but generous woman who goads Mieko into picking up her brushes once more. (Hisako's disappearance from the story proves mildly confusing, leaving her more of a device than a fleshed-out character.) Overall, this is a sensitively and beautifully crafted story that juxtaposes the strength of Japanese art and philosophy with the complex emotional wake of the bombing. Once again, this author has created a vivid portrait of courage, drawn from a time that deserves to be remembered. Ages 7-11. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Mieko and the Fifth Treasure finds a heroine whose hand is crippled by the Nagasaki bomb. A skillful word-picture artist, Mieko, can work with brush, ink stick, ink stone and rice paper, but she struggles to find the fifth treasure "beauty in the heart." It is the friendship and loving support of those around her that allow Mieko to escape her bitterness and draw with her heart.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-- The four treasures of traditional East Asian calligraphy are brush, inkstick, inkstone, and paper. The ``fifth treasure,'' as Mieko's art teacher has told her, is beauty in the heart, which breathes life into writing word-pictures (characters). Mieko lived in a village outside Nagasaki when the atom bomb was dropped. Flying glass badly damaged her writing hand and now, a few months later, she has been sent to live with her grandparents. Ashamed of her scars and certain she has lost the fifth treasure, Mieko withdraws into herself, rejecting school and her grandparents' efforts to help her heal psychologically. It is the subtle, beneficial influence of her new friend, Yoshi, and her overbearing aunt that helps Mieko overcome her fears and start to face life again. The child's inner and outer conflicts are believably handled, and readers will identify with her struggle towards normalcy after trauma. Much of the plot is obvious, but satisfying. The meeting with Yoshi's aunt is especially heavy-handed. With the plot unfolding in the months immediately after surrender, with Tokyo in ashes, rationing for nearly a decade, the collapse of the economy, and U. S. occupation forces just settling in, the fact that she blithely orders (and receives) luxury writing paper is a strain on credibility. Otherwise, this is a warm, sensitive, and well-written story with wide appeal. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
248 KB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Eleanor Coerr was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up in Saskatoon. Two of her favorite childhood hobbies were reading and making up stories.

Her fascination with Japan began when she received a book called Little Pictures of Japan one Christmas. It showed children in beautiful kimonos playing games, chasing butterflies, and catching crickets. She pored over the colored illustrations, dreaming of one day joining those children in Japan. Her best friend in high school was a Japanese girl whose family introduced her to brush painting, eating with chopsticks, and origami. Eleanor's desire to visit that magical place never faded, and her well-thumbed copy of that favorite book is still in her library.

Eleanor began her professional life as a newspaper reporter and editor of a column for children. Luckily, she traveled to Japan in 1949 as a writer for the Ottawa Journal, since none of the other staff wanted to go to a country that had been devastated by war. To learn Japanese, Eleanor lived on a farm near Yonago for about one year, absorbing the culture and enjoying rural celebrations. Soon she was able to visit nearby schools and speak to young audiences about her country. Eleanor wrote and illustrated Circus Day in Japan, using the farm family and a visit to the circus as models. It was published in Tokyo in 1953.

Her most difficult trip while she was in Japan was to Hiroshima. Eleanor was shocked by the horrible destruction and death caused by one atom bomb. Of course, she did not know Sadako Sasaki at that time, although she was living there with her family. The misery and suffering Eleanor witnessed was burned into her mind, and she hoped future world leaders would avoid wars at all costs.

One beautiful day in 1963, Eleanor revisited Hiroshima and saw the statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Impressed by the stories she heard about Sadako's talent for running, courage when faced with cancer, and determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, Eleanor was inspired to find a copy of Kokeshi, Sadako's autobiography.

Eleanor looked everywhere she could think of and asked all of her Japanese friends to help. Since the school had copied the ninety-four pages and stapled them together, most of the books had fallen apart. Years passed, and Eleanor continued writing for newspapers in various countries and wrote more children's books. But she was always hoping to find Kokeshi.

One fateful afternoon, Eleanor was having tea with a missionary who had lived in Hiroshima all through the war.

"Eleanor," she said, "you should write a biography of Sadako Sasaki for American children to read."

"I would love to," said Eleanor, "but I must have Kokeshi to get all the true facts about Sadako."

The missionary took Eleanor to her attic. Lo and behold, at the bottom of an old trunk was an original copy of Kokeshi. Eleanor rushed to have it translated properly and began writing Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes as soon as she could.

"It's like magic. I was meant to write her story," Eleanor said.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes has been translated into many languages and has moved both children and adults to write plays, perform ballets, compose songs, and collect money for peace statues-all celebrating Sadako and her wish for peace. Eleanor has visited schools all around the world encouraging her audiences to work for a nonviolent world. Folded cranes are everywhere, and always underneath the statue of Sadako in Hiroshima's Peace Park.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >