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Bookworm is studying Japan in his Eastern Hemisphere study with Bookshark right now. One of his books to read independently is Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. This little book is only 80 pages long, but it is powerful and had me in tears through most of the last half of the book. I hope you find this Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes review and activities useful for your own homeschool or study!
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes Review
The story is about Sadako, a 12 year old girl who lives in Hiroshima, Japan in 1954. If you know your history, you know this makes her just a toddler when the atom bomb is dropped in her town at the end of World War II.
Sadako was uninjured in that attack, but many people in the town were not so lucky. In fact, thousands were killed or injured. When Sadako goes to the Peace Park with her family for Peace Day, she sees many people at the memorial who were hideously disfigured from the bomb. Sadako tries not to look at those people.
When the story opens, Sadako is about to finish elementary school. She is a fast runner and spends much of her time running so she can join the junior high running team next year. It’s while running that she notices the dizziness.
While she hides the symptoms for a few months, soon she no longer can. Her parents take her to the doctor where she’s diagnosed with the “atom bomb disease”–leukemia.
Sadako’s best friend tells her that cranes are supposed to live for 1,000 years, according to an old story. If she can make 1,000 origami paper cranes, the gods will make her healthy again.
The rest of this beautiful story follows Sadako as she makes the cranes and fights, unsuccessfully, for her life.
This story was deeply moving. I finished reading the last 20 pages with tears streaming down my face!
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.
Sadako and the Thousand Cranes Supplemental Activities
I plan to also share some other information with Bookworm when he reads this story.
Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes is based on a true story about Sadako Sasaki.
I intend to show Bookworm both this YouTube video (while trying to make sure he doesn’t read the comments below the video), which is an anime version of Sadako’s story.
I also plan to show him this website that has more information about the real Sadako as well as pictures of her and her family.
Finally, I’ll show him this video about how to make an origami crane so he can try it for himself.
More Book Reviews
If you’d like to read more of my reviews about books in the Eastern Hemisphere level, consider the following:
The Land I Lost by Huynh Quang
A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury
Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins
Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin