Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (PMC) (Puffin Modern Classics)

Sadako and the thousand paper cranes is the story of a young girl living in Japan named Sadako. She was a survivor of the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. Coerr’s story is based on the story of a real little girl who suffered from the effects of the bomb’s radiation. In this story Sadako is an energetic and inquisitive young girl on her way to junior high school. She is competing on the school’s track team and is quite the star. During practices Sadako feels weak and dizzy but ignores how she feels. She keeps this secret because she thinks that if she tells her parents, she will not be able to run on the team. Eventually the dizziness is too much and Sadako is admitted to the hospital and learns that she must run a new race against leukemia. To make Sadako feel better, her friend Chizuko brings a beautiful gold crane saying “Don’t you remember that old story about the crane? 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 healthy again. Here’s your first one.” Sadako begins to make her cranes and hangs them around her room. This is a tale of courage and hope. This is a tale about the aftermath of war.

I remember reading this story as a young child. Afterward in school we made paper cranes and they were put on display in the library. The cranes were different sizes and different colors, all hanging from the ceiling.

2 poems from the book:

    Out of colored paper, cranes
    come flying into
    our house.
    O flock of heavenly cranes
    Cover my child with your wings
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