MMGM LINKS: Shannon, our MMGM leader, is powerless this past weekend thanks to a storm. I’ll post what I find below to help her out:
- Completely Full Bookshelf (WHERE I LIVE)
- The Write Stuff (THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY)
- JUSTIN TALKS BOOKS (THE MILLION DOLLAR KICK)
- Melissa Roske (ASK THE AUTHOR: Carter Higgins)
- A Bookshelf Monstrosity (MIGHTY JACK)
- READING VIOLET (A DAY OF ICE)
- THE WRITE PATH (AGENTS’ MANUSCRIPTS WISH LISTS)
- Kitty Cat at the Library (TALONS OF POWER)
- MS. YINGLING READS (ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE)
- My Brain On Books (TWO NAOMIS)
- Mundie Kids (The SILVER MASK)
- Jenni Enzor (THE MOZART SEASON)
- Tales from the Raven (JASPER AND THE RIDDLE OF RILEY’S MINE)
- I’ll add yours here if I missed you!
And I have THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM:
After reading this heartbreaking story, it made me think of the newest generation in our world. It doesn’t matter what continent they live on, whether they’re rich or live in poverty, or if they even live with their birth parents. I’m positive they would share in the cry for peace and no more use of nuclear weapons.
I first came across THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM after reading a review from Patricia Tilton over at her blog, Children’s Book’s Heal. I added it to my TBR list and hoped to read it sometime this year. A short time later I received the book thanks to a gentle nudge from the author and her publisher.
It didn’t make it any easier to read the story when I knew that a horrific bomb would drop on Hiroshima, changing the lives of every resident and the characters I’d spent a few hours getting to know. 80,000 died within hours and 140,000-150,000 died within five years as a result of the atomic bomb.
But there is hope from this tragedy, hope we can learn to treat others with respect and chase away the desire for any more wars. This is a perfect story to place in classrooms studying World War II. It’s a front row seat to the atrocities innocent people endure when war takes center stage. The haunting prose will for sure touch both middle grade readers and adults. I can certainly attest to that.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 240
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Yuriko is happy growing up in Hiroshima when it’s just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan’s fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden from its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and air raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the atomic bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.
This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s first-hand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding readers that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw
- The additions after the end of the story were interesting and welcome. This included Kathleen’s tender Afterword, a bibliography of other books written on the subject, a glossary of Japanese words used in the story, and statistics about Hiroshima.
- Yuriko makes the perfect narrator. She worries about all the same things girls her age today worry about: family, friends, and school. I couldn’t come up with a better way to tell this story.
- Instead of reading a fact based article, History comes alive here. Whether this topic is new or old for you, you’ll leave with new knowledge.
- Each chapter begins with a radio transcript, words form a war poster, or newspaper headline. They set the atmosphere for what you were about to read. Chilling and effective.
- I kept wondering how the author was going to end Yuriko’s story. There were many directions possible but the one chosen couldn’t have been better. It left an image embedded deep in my heart.
FAVORITE LINES: I took Papa’s hand as the temple bell began striking. It rang out 108 times. Each toll of the bell was intended to symbolize the release of a sin or bad habit, giving a fresh start to the New Year. But with each bong I sat wishing, “Peace, peace, peace…”
AUTHOR QUOTE (from Kathleen Burkinshaw’s blog):
One of the reasons that I chose not to start THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM on the day of the bombing, but instead give the reader a glimpse into Yuriko’s family life first, was to show readers that even though Yuriko lived in Japan she still had the same love of family, fear of losing loved ones in the war, and enjoyed being with her friends. She acted very similar to and had the same emotions as the children in the Allied countries. I hope that by discussing her family traditions and introducing the readers to a culture they may not know much about, I am giving them more than just a couple of paragraphs in a history text-book about the end of WWII in the Pacific. And by the end of the book, they could discover that the people we might see as the ‘enemy’ are not always so different from ourselves.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.