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