Friday, November 27, 2020

A Must Read Book - "The Complete Story of Sadako Sasaki and the Thousand Paper Crane" (Review)

 Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Back in my freshman year of college, I was put on the International dorm floor, as they had so many entering freshman moving into the dorms. At first, I was upset I would not be with all the other new freshman, but after moving and seeing all the diversity on the floor, I was excited to have the opportunity to makes with girls from all over the world -- from Japan and China to Russia and Ukraine, there were so many countries present with students just on this one dorm floor. And, over the course of the year, I made friends with all the girls, some who didn't speak English well -- but, that didn't cause a problem as we found ways to communicate and bond.  All these years later, I still keep in touch with many of the girls, who went back to their countries after they finished college, or that year of school.  One of the girls that I have a great friendship with and who has come to visit me in the states a few times was Chiko from Fukuoka, Japan.  During one of her first visit's back to the states, she brought a box filled with origami paper cranes she had made.  She said it was a symbol of hope and resilience in the face of disaster. Her visit was a month after 9/11, and she knew that the country was still reeling with what had happened and all the lives lost. During her stay, she shared the story of Sadako and the atomic bombing.  I had never heard of Sadako in school, and was surprised that I couldn't find any English written books about her.  But, my friend, shared all about while, while we sat at my dining room table, and she taught me how to make paper cranes.  It was a very moving story, and I wondered why I never heard of Sadako's story before my friend's visit.  Now, whenever I see a paper crane, I am reminded of Sadako and her courage.  

A few months ago, with all the politics and fighting going on in the US, I found myself sitting down and making paper cranes. My two girls saw me making the paper cranes, and asked me to teach them how to make them. They got hooked on Origami thanks to a few online classes they have taken, where they learned  how to make bookmarks and origami animals.  I found myself sharing the story of Sadako and how she inspired family and friends, and how her paper cranes are a symbol of hope and peace.  I found myself looking to see if there was a book about Sadako's life, and was happy to see that there finally was one that was published in English, that I could read myself, and then share with my girls.

Thanks to the folks at Tuttle Publishing, they sent along a copy of "The Complete Story of Sadako Sasaki and the Thousand Paper Cranes" for me to review.  After reading the book in one sitting, I was so moved.  The book is written by author Sue DiCicco along with Sadako's older brother Masahiro.  He did an amazing job at sharing his sister's story and how the atomic bomb not only impacted the war, but also brought with it the atomic bomb disease, which many people in Japan were affected by years later, including Sadako.   I couldn't help but tear up as I read this book, feeling bad for Sadako and all the other children and adults who had to suffer with this disease, all because of the war.  Again, I wondered whey we never learned about this disease and the people who were affected by it in school. But, I was finally glad that a book was published in English, so that I could share Sadako's story with my girls. 

The other day as part of our homeschooling, I read this book with my girls, and we finished up by making and hanging paper cranes in our living room window.  We had a wonderful discussion and I am so glad that my girls now know about Sadako and how through her life and death, she was able to share the message of hope and peace, and how we all have to come together to achieve unity.  This was a very well written story, and is perfect for middle grade students and above.  My girls said they liked it, especially the personal family photos Sadako's brother shared in the book.  It allowed the girls to see what Sadako looked like and how through her courage, even in her darkest days, she stayed positive and worked to fold all 1000 cranes with the other patients, hoping to be cured.  This truly is a moving story that is a must read, and one that will leave you wanting to carry on Sadako's message during our current turmoil and disarray in the world, as we remain separated not just in government, but also in life in general due to race and ethnicity, etc.

If you are looking for a good book to read this holiday season, or to pass along to your older children to read, I highly recommend this book.

About this book:

"**Middle School Book of the Year—2020 Northern Lights Book Awards**

For the first time, middle readers can learn the complete story of the courageous girl whose life, which ended through the effects of war, inspired a worldwide call for peace.

In this book, author Sue DiCicco and Sadako's older brother Masahiro tell her complete story in English for the first time—how Sadako's courage throughout her illness inspired family and friends, and how she became a symbol of all people, especially children, who suffer from the impact of war. Her life and her death carry a message: we must have a wholehearted desire for peace and be willing to work together to achieve it.

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her city of Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Ten years later, just as life was starting to feel almost normal again, this athletic and enthusiastic girl was fighting a war of a different kind. One of many children affected by the bomb, she had contracted leukemia. Patient and determined, Sadako set herself the task of folding 1000 paper cranes in the hope that her wish to be made well again would be granted.

Illustrations and personal family photos give a glimpse into Sadako's life and the horrors of war. Proceeds from this book are shared equally between The Sadako Legacy NPO and The Peace Crane Project."


About the Author:
Sue DiCicco was one of Disney's first women animators, and is a sculptor and prolific author and illustrator of children's books. An early pioneer of the Internet, she designed and crafted the first online schoolhouse, serving up to 300,000 per event in the 1990s. As part of her desire to creatively connect students from all parts of the world, she founded the Peace Crane Project in 2012 ( Today, Sue speaks globally, inviting listeners to explore the potential of the Internet to connect students in creating a more understanding, educated, integrated, and peaceful future. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Masahiro Sasaki has been a peace activist since his teens. Since 2000 he has dedicated himself to sharing Sadako's true story and bearing witness to the plight of all atomic war survivors in the world. He was the first non-American to receive the Spirit of America Award from the National Council for the Social Studies. In 2009 he established The Sadako Legacy, a nonprofit organization. He has donated Sadako's cranes to venues all over the world. Today, he lectures globally and promotes activities to connect people for peace. He lives in Fukuoka, Japan.

 Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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