Sadako by Eleanor Coerr; illustrated by Ed Young (1993)

[Published by G.P Putnam’s Sons]

sadako craneI spent many happy hours as a child folding paper cranes. It was only as I read Sadako again recently that I remembered the little girl who was the inspiration behind the thousand paper crane challenge.

Sadako lives in Hiroshima and is excitedly awaiting Peace Day, a time to remember the devastation wrought by an atomic bomb. There are speeches, fireworks and lanterns released at the banks of the Ohta River.

Some time later Sadako finds herself becoming dizzy after running. She keeps it a secret until one day she faints and in hospital it is discovered Sadako has leukemia. In the hospital her best friend brings some scissors and paper, “If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish IMG_1397and make her well again.”

Sadako’s health continues to fail until finally she dies. The notes in the back of the book finish Sadako’s story. A statue in her memory is erected in Hiroshima Peace Park, and every year on Peace Day, children hang garlands of paper cranes under the statue. “Their wish is engraved at its base: This is our cry, this is our prayer: Peace in the world.”

 Check out Sadako at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Sadako from Fishpond.

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