I was interested in reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes because it is set during and after World War II and earlier this year when our class did a project on American presidents, I was Harry S. Truman and he was President of the United States during the war. He actually was responsible for making the decision to drop the atomic bomb that ended the war. I also liked the idea of reading this book because Sadako is 11 years old and I’m 11 too. And it is about origami and I love origami and know how to fold a perfect paper crane. But once I started reading the book and read about how sick Sadako was and that she died, it made me sad. The summary is below.
Book Title: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Author: Eleanor Coerr
Illustrator: Ronald Himler
Sadako was just a toddler when President Harry S. Truman made the United States Air Force drop an atomic bomb over her city Hiroshima, Japan as an attempt to end World War II. Every year on August 6th there was a carnival for Peace Day that Sadako was always excited to go to. Her parents and her siblings Eiji, Masahiro, and Mitsue went to remember Oba Chan who died on the day of the bomb. Buddhist priests spoke and Sadako’s family launched lanterns on the Ohta River for each family member that died in the atomic bomb. Sadako loved to run. She was chosen by her classmates to run in the race on Field Day. She won! Sadako really wanted to get on the racing team in junior high so she practiced every day. But she started feeling dizzy. Sadako didn’t tell anyone, hoping the dizziness would go away. One day while Sadako was running in the school yard she fell to her knees and couldn’t get up. She was then rushed to Red Cross Hospital. Dr. Numata and Nurse Yasunaga did x-rays and Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia (cancer of the blood).
The next day, her best friend Chizuko told her the story that if any sick person folds 1,000 paper cranes the gods would grant them a wish and make them well again. Sadako made a bird out of every piece of square paper she could find. Her brother hung every single one from the ceiling. The disease took all of Sadako’s energy. She met a boy named Kenji that also had the bomb disease (as they called it). His mother had it when she gave birth to him, passing it down to him. He already knew about the thousand paper cranes story but he didn’t think it would help him. Sadako folded him a crane for good luck but days later he had died. Sadako’s classmates made her a Kokeshi doll to cheer her up but it was no use. She got to go home for a holiday but was too weak and tired to run and play. Her mother spent days sewing a kimono for Sadako, it succeeded in making her a little happy. Sadako managed to fold 644 cranes. She died October 25, 1955. Her classmates made 356 cranes so that 1,000 were buried with Sadako.