Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don’t report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bombs hit Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.
This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.
|Publisher:||Sky Pony Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||11 - 13 Years|
About the Author
Kathleen Burkinshaw wrote The Last Cherry Blossom based on her own mother’s story of growing up in Hiroshima during World War II. She was twelve years old when the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. Kathleen lives with her husband and daughter in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautifully told story. Tragic results of war no matter what side tells it.
Yes, this is a story about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and that makes it a much-needed entry into children’s literature. But Burkinshaw does something much more than just give readers a child’s-eye view of a horrific event: in this sensitive novel, inspired by events in her own mother’s life, she plops readers right in the middle of the joys and sorrows, the friendships and messy realities and sometimes petty rivalries of Yuriko’s childhood. The foreboding losses of war (and the government propaganda that insists Japan is winning, always winning – chilling to read in our current politic landscape) are threaded throughout the narrative, but when the pika don (literally “flash boom”) comes, it is a shock to the reader as much as it is to Yuriko. Because really, who could ever anticipate such horror? The aftermath of the atomic bomb is handled in a straightforward but not overly graphic manner, and the focus is always kept on Yuriko’s story, as it should be. In this slim volume, Burkinshaw takes an historical event that is too large for most of us to wrap our minds around and brings it to the scale we can all understand: the effect on the life of a character we have come to care about. Like the cherry blossoms that bloomed in the year after the bombing, defying all the odds, Yuriko learns how to find hope and courage in the ashes.
This is a powerful story of one girl's world torn apart by the bombing of Hiroshima. The author invites the reader into Yuriko's everyday life in Japan during the devastating days of World War II. With the support of her family and friends, Yuriko navigates the war's trials, especially with the help of her dear Papa. But when the fateful atomic bomb is dropped on the unsuspecting people, Yuriko must endure tragedies beyond imagining and ultimately find help from a surprising source. This book offers both a valuable history lesson as well as a thoughtful reminder on war's horrendous aftermath.
Kathleen Burkinshaw tells a powerful, heartbreaking, and deeply moving story about the devastating impact of nuclear war (and the senseless hatred that fuels it), all from the perspective of a twelve year-old girl growing up in Hiroshima in the final days of WWII. Without a doubt, this is one of the most important books I've read in a long time - I envision The Last Cherry Blossom finding space alongside books as crucial and needed as Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl. Haunting and hopeful all at the same time, this book should required reading, not only for students learning about WWII, but for adults of all ages.
Before I go any further, let me state that this is an important book! The story of 12 year old, Yuriko, will touch you in ways you may not have thought possible. Set in Hiroshima, Japan before and after the dropping of the atomic bomb, this gut-wrenching story allows us to experience the war through the eyes of a little girl. Having been taught here in America that the Japanese were our enemy at that time, this story places a human face to warfare—a little girl, supposedly our foe, who had the same simple hopes and dreams as children in America. Hopes and dreams that became enveloped, poisoned, and ultimately shattered by a giant mushroom cloud on August 6th, 1945. Based on the true life events of Ms. Burkinshaw’s mother, I hope this book will open up discussions in classrooms and homes all across the world, creating conversations about the impact war—especially nuclear war—has on innocent lives.