Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Eleanor Coerr
Illustrator:  Ronald Himler 
Historical Fiction
For ages 8 to 10
Penguin, 2004   ISBN: 978-0142401132

Sadako loves to run, and she seems to have boundless energy. Even on Peace Day, which is a day of remembrance and memorial in Hiroshima, Sadako cannot suppress her excitement, and she runs to her friend’s house after the family prayers and breakfast. Soon she and Chizuko are running off to visit the Peace park, where they eat sweet treats, watch the fireworks, and light paper lanterns that are sent floating across the river.

Just a few months later in the fall, Sadako is very excited when she is chosen to be on a relay team. Diligently Sadako practices running so that she will get faster. Her hard work pays off and her teams wins, but at the end of the race Sadako feels dizzy. In February the dizziness becomes so bad that Sadako collapses in the school yard. When she is taken to the hospital and examined, Sadako hears her mother talk about Leukemia. Can she really have the “atom bomb disease” that has killed so many people?

Sadako is told that she has to stay in hospital for weeks and weeks, and to try to cheer her up, Chizuko makes her a paper crane made out of golden paper. It is said that if a sick person folds a thousand paper cranes he or she can wish to get better. Diligently Sadako makes paper cranes out of all kinds of paper, hoping that her wish will come true and that she will get well again.

Based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, this very moving and powerful tale tells the story of a young girl who dared to hope that she would recover from a terrible illness, and whose courage has inspired people of all ages all over the world to hope for peace.