Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes was recommended by an author friend of mine whose recommendations are incredibly valuable for me.

It’s such a sad story of a little girl, Sadako, who died of leukaemia in Japan, years after the bombing of Hiroshima. You know that I’m so interested in anything about Hiroshima whether it’s just Hiroshima related stories, part of history or anything that represents it in the art space.

Sadako

Eleanor Coerr, the author, knows a lot about Japanese culture for she had lived there. She was also lucky enough to get hold of Sadako’s diary. But the book still felt like it was written for children which makes me think there’s got to be an adult version of this. Anyone knows?

At the end of this little book, there is a section with instructions to teach us how to make a paper crane. The same crane that Sadako made. I thought that was a really nice touch.

Today, there is a Hiroshima Peace Park in Japan with Sadako’s statue, holding a golden paper crane in her hand. People, especially children, still bring paper cranes to the statue and leave them there. It seems like an incredibly colourful place. I hope to visit the park one day myself.

My highlights from the book:
At breakfast Sadako noisily gulped down her soup and rice. Masahiro began to talk about girls who ate like hungry dragons.

The two had been friends since kindergarten. Sadako was sure that they would always be as close as two pine needles on the same twig.

After speeches by Buddhist priests and the mayor, hundreds of white doves were freed from their cages. They circled the twisted, scarred Atomic Dome. Sadako thought the doves looked like spirits of the dead flying into the freedom of the sky.

When the candles were burning brightly, the lanterns were launched on the Ohta River. They floated out to sea like a swarm of fireflies against the dark water.

At midnight she was in her cosy bed quilts when the temple bells began to chime. They were ringing out all the evils of the old year so that the new one would have a fine beginning.

It’s supposed to live for a thousand years. If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again.