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

5.0

To be completely honest, I didn't really know what this book was about when I chose it for my informational text. I just ended up with it because it was the cheapest option of the books on the syllabus under this category for me to rent from Textbook Brokers. However, I feel so lucky that I did end up with this book because it really changed my outlook on certain aspects of life and I learned a lot of new information. I never really learned about how the US bombed Japan in school- I feel like all of the information we learned about World War II was centered around the Holocaust and what was happening in Germany. I knew that we had used nuclear bombs on Hiroshima, but I didn't know just how catastrophic it was, how many cities we actually bombed, and I didn't know about the extent of the aftereffects either. Unfortunately, it seems like a majority of the population (both Japanese and American) didn't know about the aftereffects of being exposed to radiation even years after the bombings because talking about it was so heavily censored by the American Government.

I made the mistake of starting to read this book while I was at work. I work at a preschool, and while the kids are asleep (after all of the chores are done) we will often read books or work on homework until it is time for them to wake up. I read about the first 50 pages of this book during naptime on Monday until I had to stop because I was crying so hard I was afraid I was going to wake up my class. It continued on like that until about halfway through the book. The amount of pain that Sachiko and her family and everyone else that was affected by nuclear strikes is almost incomprehensible to me. I can't imagine going through so much trauma at such a young age.

For being an informational book, Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story was actually a fairly fast-paced read for me, I think because a majority of it is written like a memoir and so much of it focuses on Sachiko's story and her strength. Sachiko's story is so inspiring, and I would definitely want to use this book in my classroom, however, I probably wouldn't use it for anyone younger than middle school just because it is such a heavy topic. I am so glad that I read this book. I learned so much, and I have been thinking about Sachiko constantly since I finished it. I'm sure her story will live with me for a very long time. Also, this book inspired me to check some books about Gandhi, MLK Jr, and Helen Keller out of the library!