The Last Cherry Blossom

The Last Cherry Blossom

Kobo ebook | August 2, 2016

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Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don’t report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bombs hit Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.

Title:The Last Cherry BlossomFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:August 2, 2016Publisher:Sky PonyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1634506944

ISBN - 13:9781634506946

Appropriate for ages: 6 - 8


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Brilliant, Heartfelt Tale The Last Cherry Blossom is a heart breaking tale about life for young Joya as World War II rages on around her (though it feels far away). They ration their food, give up their metals, and their kids are sent to war or to work in factories unless the are lucky enough to stay home. Through tough discoveries and major losses, Joya finds a way to push through, even though she didn’t really want to. My heart broke as this book showed me what young Joya went through, and it is very important that this experience, this book, is shared. “I looked around the room at their happy faces, realizing that even though there is so much uncertainty and fear, joyful, happy moments still existed.” -Page 147 Joya’s voice grew as her character developed. The writing is a bit choppy at first, but is used to show Joya’s youth. And as she ages, the writing smooths out to show how she’s grown, and how her thoughts change. I loved to see the difference and how she changed in little ways and big ways. She gives hope for us, that even though horrible things happen to people they can survive it. This is a promising middle grade tale full of love and loss and family, and what it means to survive. And while there’s so much war and fear and uncertainty in the world, about whether they can win the war or not, there’s still hope and love and family to keep us from crying through every page. Yes, you might cry, you might laugh, you might smile. No matter what, you come out with a better understanding of war, and loss, and what you have today. You learn to appreciate. This is a hard topic to write about, war and loss and its effects, but the author does it brilliantly and effectively without making it too gritty or grim. Young children could read this, and they should because this is something that needs to be shared.
Date published: 2016-12-05