Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

This year, my older two children and I are studying the Eastern Hemisphere in school.  I was very excited to finally start this year’s curriculum – I’d been looking forward to studying the Eastern Hemisphere since I first decided on using Sonight curriculum in our homeschool six years ago.

We’ve already studied Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and Japan – now we’re working on China.  The books that Nathaniel and Anna read on their own for Language Arts incorporate the same countries we’re studying in History.

I used to read all the books, but with four students at home now I don’t have time to read every single one.  The older two know this, and so Anna made a special point to bring me Sadako and the Thousand Cranes by Eleanor Coerr when she had finished reading it a couple of weeks ago and told me to read it.

“It’s really good, Mom,” she said.  “You need to read it.”

I found it last week when I was cleaning off the kitchen counter, and thought I’d take some time to sit down and read it.  It’s a thin book, written for upper elementary students, so it’s a quick and easy read.  I think it took me about an hour at most.

And Anna was right.  It is a very good book.  She asked me today if I had read it and I said that I had.

“Did you like it?”

“Oh yes, I did.  In fact, it made me a little teary.”

Anna nodded sagely.  I think she felt the same way after she finished it.

Sadako is based on the true story of a little girl in Japan who was a baby in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb exploded.  Her family thought they had escaped the dreaded ‘bomb sickness’, until Sadako was sent home after a bad dizzy spell at school.  Her best friend tells her that the gods will grant her wish to get well if she makes 1,000 paper cranes, so she decides to do it.

It is very thoughtfully and gently written, so I believe most older elementary students will enjoy reading or listening to it.  However, if your child is especially sensitive, I’d suggest reading it first so you can decide if s/he is old enough to handle it.

Recommended for ages 9 and up.

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