A review by kittalia
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story, by Caren Stelson


August 9, 1945 began as a normal day for six-year-old Sachiko—little food, a chicken that didn’t lay, but a loving family and good friends. In Nagasaki, 1945, times are tough but survivable—at least, until Sachiko’s game of house is interrupted by a falling bomb. Her youngest brother is dead immediately; as her family flees, another brother dies from his burns, and another from the radiation sickness. Sachiko, her sister, and her parents are sick for months, but they recover to become survivors of an atomic bomb blast. Even for survivors, the rigors of postwar life and the mysterious ailments and cancers that afflict those near the bombing take a deadly toll. Sachiko’s story is clearly told with simple, unpretentious language that makes it easily readable for all ages. Interspersed between chapters, two-page spreads give historical background in more detail; some of these the average American will find familiar, but others are more unusual. As I read Sachiko, I was surprised by all the things I had never been taught—the symptoms of radiation poisoning (besides cancer), the quality of life in postwar Japan, and the way the doctors sent to study the effects of radiation refused to acknowledge its existence. Although the simplicity of this book may be frustrating for some adults, this book should be a part of every school’s education.