Read + Review: Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson

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A child of six years at the time, Sachiko Yasui lived a modest life in her home town of Nagasaki. With her siblings Misa, Toshi, Aki, and Ichiro by her side, the little girl had no idea that August 9th was the day her whole world would be ripped apart. Even at a young age, Sachiko knew of the dangers that lurked around her, as America’s threats with Japan grew increasingly persistent during World War II. But when she saw a flash and debris pile on top of her, Sachiko learned that the road to recovery would not be easy. Through her father’s wise words and views of the world, Sachiko fights to understand the truth, and how things happen for a reason. Based on a real account of a hibakusha, this harrowing story is one that should be retold for generations to come, so that a devastating nuclear arms race shall never come about.

As the story went on, I was overcome with emotion. The grief, sorrow, and agony that Sachiko went through in the decades to follow was excruciatingly painful to read about. I’ve read many stories from different hibakusha, the bomb-affected people, about their journeys of self-discovery after the horrors of the explosion. Yet, none has ever given me the impression that I took away from this story. The vivid details, coupled with the factual background bits scattered throughout the story, made for an informative and mesmerizing read. There’s no possible way to describe Sachiko’s bravery in words, except that she is an inspiration to all. The silence, the emotion… everything about this book is beautifully written. I urge you to read this book if you can. I promise, you will not regret it.

I noticed that Sachiko took a lot of her father’s ideas and words, and found a way to incorporate it into her life. I truly resonated with Sachiko’s father and his ideas, for his main belief was that hate only produces hate. We need to live in a world of peace, and if everyone thought the same way as him, our world would be a better place. I also loved that Sachiko found her voice through her role models, from Helen Keller to Mahatma Gandhi. She truly is an exceptional woman that, I’m sure, will find a way to make her voice last for generations.

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Reviewed by Mitali, Grade 10, Twin Hickory Area Library

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