Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Laurence Yep
Historical Fiction
For ages 10 to 12
Scholastic, 1995   ISBN: 978-0590208338

It is hard for us to imagine today what it was like living in America and Japan during the last months of World War II. It is hard too for us to comprehend what it might have been like to be living in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 when the Enola Gay dropped an atom bomb on that city.

In this powerful and very moving novella, Laurence Yep takes a look at these times and he helps us to better understand what the atom bomb was, why the Americans decided to use it, and what happened in the city of Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped.

In conjunction with the factual information he provides, Yep tells the story of two young sisters who are going about their daily activities in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped. To create these characters Yep drew on the true stories of several Japanese girls who witnessed and survived the bombing. In his story one of the sisters is outside when the bomb is dropped, and the appalling things she experienced in the aftermath of the bombing are painful to read about. Readers who did not previously understand how devastating the bomb was will come to fully appreciate the horror of the event as they read about Riko and Sachi.

Yep goes on to describe what happened after the war was finally over. Hiroshima was rebuilt but the lives of thousands of people would never be the same. It would take a great deal of courage and forgiveness to begin the process of healing in earnest.

Full of powerful imagery, this little book serves as a compelling memorial to the people of Hiroshima who died, and it also serves as a chilling reminder that we cannot afford to forget what happened on that hot day in August in 1945.