The Peace Bellby Margi Preus, Hideko Takahashi
Yuko's grandmother remembers that when she was a little girl many years ago in Japan, her town's beautiful temple bell was taken away to be used as scrap metal for the war effort. She thought she'd never see it again. After the war the bell was brought to America by a U. S. Navy crew who found it abandoned in a Japanese shipyard. Most amazing of all, the bell was
Yuko's grandmother remembers that when she was a little girl many years ago in Japan, her town's beautiful temple bell was taken away to be used as scrap metal for the war effort. She thought she'd never see it again. After the war the bell was brought to America by a U. S. Navy crew who found it abandoned in a Japanese shipyard. Most amazing of all, the bell was later returned to Japan as a gesture of friendship between the former warring countries. Told in evocative prose, this inspiring story based on the American-Japanese Friendship Peace Bell celebrates peace between nations.
Based on actual happenings, this gentle picture book promotes peace and illustrates how war impacts individuals in many ways. Framed by the narration of Katie-chan, an American visiting her friend Yuko in Japan, the story is told by Yuko's grandmother to the girls. The woman describes her childhood, recalling the song of an ancient temple bell that was sounded at midnight on New Year's Eve, ringing 108 times to chase away the worries of the world. But, when the war came, it was donated as scrap metal. After the war, the town gradually sprang to life, but Yuko's grandmother felt an empty spot in her heart where the bell's song used to live. Then, one day, the bell came back; it had been found abandoned in a shipyard by American sailors, sent to Minnesota, and finally returned to the town as a symbol of friendship. The simple plot is clearly developed with descriptive language, and an author's note provides more historical details. Done in Japanese acrylic paints, the realistic illustrations accurately portray the setting and capture the characters' various emotions-calmness, anxiety, happiness-as the story unfolds. Cultural details are woven into both text and pictures, and the message of peace between nations is eloquently conveyed.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA
- Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 7.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 5 - 8 Years
Meet the Author
MARGI PREUS lives in Duluth,Minnesota, where a replica of the Peace Bell now resides.
HIDEKO TAKAHASHI is the illustrator of many books for children, including Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems and In My New Yellow Shirt. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
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This fantastic book is based on a true story. During WWII, many Japanese towns donated their temple bells to the country's scrap metal drives. A few escaped the smelter, including one from the city of Ohara, which was found after the war - totally intact - by navy crewmembers from the American ship, USS DULUTH. The ship's crew took the bell and subsequently donated it to the city of Duluth, Minnesota. Years later, thanks to the efforts of a visiting Japanese professor, the bell was returned to its place of origin, where it was renamed The American-Japanese Friendship Peace Bell. Eventually, a Sister Cities relationship blossomed between the two cities and in 1991, Ohara presented Duluth with a replica of the bell.
Author Margi Preus weaves a wonderful story of Yuko and her American friend from Duluth, Katie, who is visiting in Ohara. Yuko's grandmother tells the girls the story of the ancient temple bell in their village, how as a child she loved to listen to it ring, her disappointment when it was taken away, and how the city celebrated at its eventual and unlikely return. At the end of the story, the two girls ring the bell and feel its song of peace and good will in their hearts.
Brought alive by the extraordinary text of Margi Preus and the distinctive, colorful and detailed illustrations of Hideko Takahashi, I give this book a High Five for the message of peace and love it brings to children everywhere. It is destined to be a true classic.
Gayle Jacobson-Huset Managing Editor
Stories for Children Magazine