Thursday, May 29, 2008

'Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes'

by Eleanor Coerr
Historical Fiction/kidlit, 1977
Puffin (Penguin), pb, 62 p.
The star of her school’s running team, Sadako is lively and athletic … until the dizzy spells start. Then she must face the hardest race of her life – the race against time.
This was a very quick read, not surprising since it’s a children’s book and a slim one at that. Even though I basically knew the story beforehand, it was worth reading it to know the version that many people are familiar with. For those that don't know, Sadako is the real-life inspiration for the Children's Peace monument in Hiroshima and the accompanying tradition of making 1000 origami cranes in the name of peace.
Sadako is a great person/character, she’s so full of courage despite her illness. I was a bit disappointed though that Coerr exaggerated the truth to make the story more dramatic, and more emotional. I guess that’s why it is labelled as fiction, “based on a true story”, rather than non-fiction. Despite that it is still a moving story and it is partly thanks to Coerr writing about her in English that has made the story of Sadako so widely known.

My Rating: 3/5
(#21 for 2008)

Sadako's cranes

Some of Sadako's cranes, in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.


  1. Hi Nat :)

    I have never heard of this story and it is time for me to read it. You mention that the story has been dramatized, why not just leave it as is ? Courage is courage, why do authors sometimes have to exagerate so as to make us feel. Still I want to read it.

    I am still not done with my reviews and my tag (I was taged by Bethany about 8 things about I can't think of anything at least not private, also i am looking for someone to're it :D) Refere to bethany or I will explain it to you later. Thinking who else I could tag, Wendy has been having a hard time concentrating, like me, maybe Nymeth? Bellezza ? It is difficult to find 8 things about oneself which aren't private....

    How is your week so far, beside having been tagged by me :P

  2. I read this in school in I think third grade, and we all made paper cranes too. I remember being very impressed with the book at the time; I have no idea how I'd feel about it now though!

  3. Madeleine- I can send you my copy of Sadako since I don't plan to keep it. Despite being partly changed from what really happened, it's still worth reading especially if you've never heard the story.
    LOL about the meme. I was tagged for this one already by Nymeth I just haven't got around to thinking up what to write yet. So sure I can be tagged by you too. :)
    I know I've done a couple of these before so I need to think of something new, and like you said, not overly personal.
    As for my week, it started off not too great but has gotten better. I ended up with the day off today so that's nice.

    Eva- I think it's still a good book for kids but I did find it almost a bit too simple, reading it now.

  4. I'm crazy about the photograph of the cranes! They are mesmerizing. Every time I read that book aloud to my class they cry. It's good to come face to face with sorrow, sometimes, especially for my students who take blessings of their life for granted.

  5. This sounds like an interesting book. It is too bad that the author felt the need to exaggerate the truth. I imagine the true story is just as worthwhile, if not more so.

  6. Bellezza- The photo is a bit dark but we weren't allowed to use a flash inside the museum. Anyway, you still get the idea.
    I do think it's a good story to introduce kids to death and sorrow.

    Literary Feline- I do think the true story is just as worthwhile and her story touched many people in Japan before it ever got told (and embellished) in other languages. Oh well.


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