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A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

Written by Caren Stelson & illustrated by Akira Kusaka
5.5 / 7.0
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What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“A heartbreaking monument to a brave hibakusha’s (atomic bomb survivor) story of loss and courage.”

This harrowing tale shares the true story of Sachiko Yasui, whose entire family was killed by the blast or aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The story centers on a family heirloom, an ornamented green bowl. As the story begins, Sachiko’s family is gathered around the bowl, which is filled with “good things to eat.” As the family feels the impact of a crescendoing world war, the food available for the bowl is reduced until it is only “wheat balls floating in boiled water.” Yet every time before the family eats, they repeat together, “Itadakimasu,” (“We humbly receive this food”). When the atomic bomb is dropped on their city, her baby brother is killed by the blast, followed by her two older brothers, her older sister, her father, and her mother, who all die from radiation. Remarkably, the green bowl survives the bomb blast, and every August, Sachiko places ice—the only thing that could soothe her family’s radiation-burned throats—in the bowl in remembrance of family, loss, and hope of enduring peace. Kusaka’s illustrations have a stark, unembellished aspect, heightening the harshness of the haunting story they movingly portray. Stelson, who learned the story from personally meeting with Sachiko over many years, strikes a balance between conveying and condemning the destruction and loss experienced while giving full weight to the inspiring message of hope and resilience that helped Sachiko endure with an attitude reflected in the declaration, “Itadakimasu.”

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

In this deeply moving nonfiction picture book, award-winning author Caren Stelson brings Sachiko Yasui's story of surviving the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and her message of peace to a young audience.

Sachiko's family home was about half a mile from where the atomic bomb fell on August 9, 1945. Her family experienced devastating loss. When they returned to the rubble where their home once stood, her father miraculously found their serving bowl fully intact. This delicate, green, leaf-shaped bowl--which once held their daily meals--now holds memories of the past and serves as a vessel of hope, peace, and new traditions for Sachiko and the surviving members of her family.

What Kind of Book is A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

What Should I Know As a Parent

Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following is a list of concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.

Presence of Death: This book includes multiple instances of death as (**SPOILER**) the main character's entire family all dies throughout a span of multiple years as a result of radiation poisoning from bombings in the war.
Violence: This book, as a true story about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki contains instances about enemy bombs, and one bomb strikes and (**SPOILER**) kills the main character's little sibling.

Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

Mom of Boys
Mom of three little boys who love books about dragons, whangdoodles and magic.
5.0 / 7.0
The Goodfather
Favorite pastime? Reading with my kids. Just finished Nana Cracks the Case!
6.5 / 7.0

This is an incredibly touching story of family, war, destruction, loss, resilience, hope, and peace. Skillfully written and beautifully illustrated.

B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mommy-to-be! Recently enjoyed The Hobbit, Becoming, and The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel.
5.0 / 7.0

A beautiful, educative retelling of a true story, but the story is a sad one full of loss. It’s a powerful read in terms of telling a real, devastating story from the effects of war, but it ended feeling more sad than hopeful to me. I think it’s an important read, but for older readers as (SPOILER) her entire family dies as a result of the radiation from bombs in the war. I honestly didn’t care too much that the bowl (symbolizing hope and peace) survived when her family didn’t. Not a title I would want to read often.

Book Lists That Include A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

Book Topics › true story
Children's Books About True Story
Book Topics › peace
Children's Books About Peace
Book Topics › loss
Children's Books About Loss
Book Topics › multigenerational
Children's Books About Multigenerational
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Who Wrote A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

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Book Details

Publication Date:
August 4, 2020
Library of Congress Number (LCCN):

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