Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. By Eleanor Coerr.  Illustrated by Ronald Himler.  Puffin, 1999.  80 pages. $5.99

Plot/Content: Sadako loves to run.  Fast.  Her father once asks her mother, “`…Did you ever see her walk when she could run, hop, or jump?’  There was pride in his voice because Sadako was a such a strong, fast runner.”  Sadako trains hard to become the fastest runner she can be.  She approaches life with a zeal and joy that make all those around her smile.  Sadako was a baby in the city of Hiroshima during World War II, when the United States Air Force dropped an atom bomb on the city.  She had seen many people in her city become ill with leukemia, what many call “atom bomb disease.”  When Sadako starts having dizzy spells, she first keeps them secret, but when falls down while running, she can keep the secret no longer.  In the hospital, ill with leukemia, Sadako’s best friend, Chizuko, brings her a paper crane and reminds her of the legend that if a person is ill and folds 1,000 cranes “the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again.”  So, Sadako sets her mind on folding 1,000 cranes with the same determination that she put into her running.

Review: Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a moving, beautiful story of hope, love, and inner strength.  Written in language accessible to younger tweens, this book is readable and appropriately simple, yet the concepts are deep and multifaceted.  Delicately rendered black and white illustrations depict a few of the key scenes in the book.  An epilogue tells the story of what happened after Sadako’s death.  The book also includes instructions on how to fold an origami crane.

Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction

Reading/Interest Level: 8-10 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

ISBN: 0698118022

Similar Books: Kira-Kira, A Taste of Blackberries

Subjects: family, love, illness, World War II

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2 Comments on “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr”

  1. Bianca says:

    My teacher first showed us a video non youtube named Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (by piedusteater) on World Peace Day 2010. All the girls and some of the boys were crying. We assumed it was just because we were a grade 3/4 class, we were young and you know, kids are more emotional than adults at the best of times. But we didn’t realise Sadako and the Cranes were a symbol of peace internationally. Hundreds around the globe are affected by this story each day and I still cry when I read her story. She was so brave. She has become famous at our school. We have two books, a long and short one, both by Elanore Coerr. There are three copies of the short one and one copy of the long one. It took me four weeks to get my hands on just one of those short books and I only recently got the longer one out. Sadako has such an inspiring story, and she didn’t know it at the time, but she will be an inspiration for many for a loooong time.

    Sadako was so inspiring and Elanore Coerr told the story so well, I have been inspired to write my own story about Sadako Chan Sasaki.

    THIS IS OUR CRY, THIS IS OUR PRAYER, PEACE IN THE WORLD


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