A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story
A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

Written by Caren Stelson & illustrated by Akira Kusaka
6 - 11
Reading age
Page count
Lexile measure
Aug 4, 2020
Publication date

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

Primarily about

lossmilitary and warsfamily


Race, Ethnicities, & Nationalities

Where Does This Book Stand Out

  • History

    The “History” badge is awarded to recognize books that exceptionally share history.

What Should I Know As a Parent

Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following are 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.


Book Lists That Include This Book

The Creatives Behind the Book

What Has Akira Kusaka Said About This Book

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What Has Caren Stelson Said About This Book

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Book Details

Publication Date
August 4, 2020
Carolrhoda Books (R)
Page Count
Reading Age
6 - 11 years
Lib. of Congress (LCCN)
WorldCat Number (OCLC)
Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
Est. ATOS® Book Level

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Core Score - 90%

So, SO close to perfection!

Depth Score - 21%

Just the barebones.

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