Publisher's Note:  

This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui's survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. Having conducted extensive interviews with Sachiko Yasui, Caren Stelson chronicles Sachiko s trauma and loss as well as her long journey to find peace. This book offers readers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II and their aftermath.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Carolrhoda Books

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story

by Caren Stelson

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Overall Review:  

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson is middle grade non-fiction.  This is a gorgeous book that intermingles the narrative of six-year-old Sachiko with historical inserts, thus giving context to the war and what was happening in the world at the same time.  There are historical photos on almost every page and other historical images of interest, such as the hand-written note from President Truman authorizing the use of the atomic bomb.  Appreciated is the author's honesty about some things that have been swept under the historical rug, such as the United States' extensive censorship in Japan pertaining to all things related to the atomic bomb and how American doctors were sent to observe the effects, but not help.

While the themes are heavy--even heart-breaking--in this book, it is specifically written for the middle grade demographic and the tone is respectful of that age group.  While nine seemed a little young for this text, ten and eleven-year-olds would probably be able to process this slice of history.

This is a wrenching, first-person account through the eyes of a child.  It is an important book that humanizes and gives a face to those affected by war.  It should be required reading for not only young people, but also adults.

If readers are looking for a companion fiction book on this topic, they might try The Last Cherry Blossom.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Many references to WWII events such as concentration camps, bombings, Pearl Harbor, etc. with numbers dead reported; several photos showing destruction caused by the firebombing and atomic bombing in Japan; family member is found dead by impalement through head (brief); child's playmates are found crushed (brief); brief descriptions of injuries received in bombing; 6 year old helps dig graves for family members; family members are injured/burned/vomiting; brief description of destroyed landscape including the mention of human and animal bodies; description of family, including children,  walking through aftermath listening to people crying out for water or asking to be killed; 6 year-old child's feet hit the bodies of a mother and a baby and she must step over them (brief); several family members die from effects of atomic bomb; report that 23 family members were killed in bombing; descriptions of effects including hair loss, bleeding gums, lesions, flies laying eggs in sores, radiation sickness; report of assassination of Gandhi, Martin Luther King; family members die from various kinds of cancer; picture showing the effects of scar tissue keloids; report of violence in America Civil Rights Movement; report of H bomb testing.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:  

War, orphans, death of family members, atomic bomb, censorship (Americans censoring information in Japan), U.S. occupation of Japan, bullying, discrimination/racism, radiation illness, cancer.

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Reviewed By Cindy
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