Written By: Caren Stelson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (October 1, 2016)
I borrowed this book to read as a Cybils Awards nominee. I ended up buying it and it won in 2016.
Words that come to mind after closing this book: harrowing, distressing, torturous, traumatic, heartbreaking.
“What happened to me must never happen to you.”–Sachiko Yasui
And that begins the telling of a first-person account from a six-year-old girl. Eventually, she is the only surviving member of her family and feels a sense of duty to tell their story in an attempt to not let the horror be forgotten and then repeated. All holocausts should be commemorated. What the US government did to Nagasaki after Hiroshima was a horror of unprecedented proportions. The fact that this isn’t being taught that way in schools says something about censorship even within the US.
The layout is practically perfect. Normally in these kinds of books, I find the whole sidebar thing disrupts the story or just feels disjointed. Not in this case. Each sidebar flows and explains the history you need to know at that exact point in the story.
I think this book should be read by all middle-grade students as a part of their study of WW2 and high school students also if they haven’t already read it. In a homeschool setting, you could easily go off on rabbit trails considering Sachiko’s heroes: Gandhi and Helen Keller. In either classroom or home, you’ll want to hand a box of tissues over alongside this one.