Tag Archives: Atomic bomb

The Last Paper Crane – Kerry Drewery

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Allen & Unwin

July 2020

ISBN: 9781471408472

Publisher: Bonnier

Imprint: Hotkey

RRP $16.99

Much has been written in the past 75 years about the horrific devastation that was the bombing of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki). It is an event the pain and suffering of which still resonates in modern times and with hindsight, even some of those whose militaristic justifications argued for the necessity of this dreadful action have modified their thoughts. Arguably, in light of recent global events the examination of tragedies such as this are even more imperative.

While this is a fictional account there can be no denying the essential truth of the emotions, repercussions and conflicting attitudes that surround not only the act itself but the consequences. Part free verse and part prose it is hauntingly poignant, beautiful and sombre but offers hope for victims to make peace with their own past.

Japanese teenager, Mizuki, knows that her much-loved grandfather is troubled – not only by his fading faculties and strength but by a much deeper grief than she can possibly fathom. It takes some persuasion but eventually Mizuki is able to hear the full account of Ichiro’s terrible memories of the day the bomb fell on his city and the even more terrible events that came after.

On the day of the bombing Ichiro was with his friend Hiro and when their whole life and surrounds explode without warning their one shared thought is to find their family members but particularly Hiro’s little sister Keiko. The reader shares in Ichiro’s struggle and distress as he loses first Hiro and then has to ‘abandon’ Keiko because he is unable to go any further without help. All his life his guilt at this unavoidable desertion has eaten away at his conscience and so Mizuki determines to help him find out Keiko’s fate in the hope that it may help him eventually heal before his time runs out.

The bravery of the young Hiro and his deeply felt guilt is a harrowing story but the other side of the tragedy – the support of a Japanese-American nurse with the rescue troops as well as the many people who guarded the paper cranes that Ichiro folded and left as talismans and guideposts for little Keiko is uplifting.

Students of history may find plenty of factual accounts of this heinous military act but those who wish to go deeper and find a greater and more compassionate understanding of the full consequences of the bomb will benefit immensely from this sensitive and powerful narrative.

Highly recommended for readers from around upper primary upwards and for aany school that encourages ‘read around your topic’ this is a must-have.

ANZAC Day 2017

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Two books which it seemed appropriate to save for this year’s commemoration – both of them not to be missed.

 

Kokoda: Younger Readers edition – Peter FitzSimons

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OCT 25, 2016 | 9780734417435 | RRP $14.99

Hachette Australia

Imprint: Lothian Children’s Books

Journalist Peter FitzSimons has proven himself as Australia’s top non-fiction writer, consistently leading bestseller lists. The original edition of Kokoda was described as ‘engrossing narrative’ (Sydney Morning Herald) and its success with the audience spoke for itself.

In some inspired publishing, this edition has been produced for young adult/teen readers and will be a valuable addition to any library, particularly in the study of Modern History and Australia/Asia relations.

In 1942 young Australian soldiers – so young that many were still teenagers – were confronted by a campaign that was so seemingly impossible that it still beggars belief.  Faced with the Imperial Japanese forces these legendary diggers took on some of the wildest and untamed terrain in the world and became a force with which to be reckoned.

Take a look inside here. It is quite simply un-put-downable.

Highly recommended for secondary students from Year 7 upwards.

Sachiko – Caren Stelson

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ISBN: 9781467789035
Imprint: Lerner PG – Carolrhoda Books
Walker Australia-HEDS
November 1, 2016

Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

No doubt many of us would think we are pretty familiar with the tragic history of the atomic blasting of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We’ve shared many recounts and also more fictionalised accounts of this terrible time.

This non-fiction totally changed my understanding of this event and its hideous aftermath.

Sachiko Yasui was six years old when Nagasaki was ripped apart on August 9th 1942. In the process her family and their after-life was also torn to shreds.

The clouds parted

Pikadon!

Toshi. Aki. Ichiro. They are gone now.

So is Misa.

My father.

My mother.

I nearly died too.

So Sachiko began a talk to primary school children fifty years after the event. Through all her struggles in the intervening years she had kept quiet about her family’s tragedy and the ongoing problems she and her parents faced.

Since that time she has continued to share a message of the importance of peace to schools and groups.

Caren Stelson spent many hours in interviewing Sachiko and researching primary sources to construct what is the most moving history of this disaster I’ve ever experienced.

She has used photographs of both Sachiko and Nagasaki to illustrate the non-fiction narrative as well as including copious references, notes, glossary and more.

Again, this is an important book for the study of modern history but more than that it is a testament to the faith that can endure and salvage a person’s life from circumstances more dire than any of us can imagine.

Highly recommended for readers from around 12 years upwards.