Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Days of Change: The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Days of Change: The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Valerie Bodden
For ages 12 and up
The Creative Company, 2008   ISBN: 978-1583415450

On August 6th, 1945, soon after his plane dropped a bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the copilot, deeply moved by the sight of the mushroom cloud, wrote "My God, what have we done?" in his journal. It was indeed a question many people would ask in the days following the bombing, for the effects that the bomb had on the city of Hiroshima were horrific. Thousands of people were vaporized when the bomb exploded. Others were terribly burned and poisoned by radiation. The city was almost completely destroyed with very few buildings left standing. For the people of Hiroshima, and those in Nagasaki a few days later, the bombing of their cities was a tragedy unlike anything seen by human kind before.

In this sobering and deeply moving book Valerie Bodden not only describes what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but she also tells the story of World War II and explains why atomic bombs were developed in the first place. She then goes on to explain why the Americans felt that they had no choice but to drop the bombs on Japan. Germany had surrendered to the allies in May of 1945, recognizing that the time had come to give up. The Japanese, even though they had been driven out of the countries that they had occupied, refused to give up. Surrender was not an option for them and they were determined to fight to the last man. Americans was tired and worn out after all the years of war. They wanted the conflict to end and everyone feared that many more lives would be lost if an invasion of Japan became necessary.

Thus it was decided that atom bombs were the best solution to the problem. Surely the Japanese would surrender after being attacked by such a formidable weapon. Unfortunately for the city of Nagasaki, the Japanese leaders did not take the hint after Hiroshima was bombed. A second bomb had to be dropped on another Japanese city before the Japanese finally conceded defeat.

With great sensitivity and an obvious appreciation for the political and historical ramifications of this landmark event, Valerie Bodden truly brings the story of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to life. Her splendid text is accompanied by powerful period photographs, quotes, and more.