After the A-bomb hits,
surviving winter in Hiroshima is so hard,
then flowers bloom in spring – and perhaps hope also?
Among the packages of desperately needed clothes and food sent to these Japanese schoolchildren when World War II ended were simple gifts of paper, pencils, and crayons from a church in the USA.
So they drew their thank-yous, sent back to the church which displayed and preserved them until today.
The author’s documentary film “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard” includes the restored children’s drawings sent to All Souls’ Church in D.C. as well as archival footage showing life in Hiroshima in the days and months after the bombing.
Book info: Running with Cosmos Flowers: the Children of Hiroshima / Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall. Pelican Publishing, 2014. [book website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Now her turn to evacuate in summer 1945, Hana-chan arrives at her aunt’s country village shortly before her mother departs with students going home… to Hiroshima.
Struggling to travel from the mountains into the city after the A-bomb strikes, Hana and her aunt are aghast at the devastation, yet try to help where they can.
Back at school in one of the few buildings remaining upright, 7 year old Hana and her young classmates worry about whether radiation sickness is contagious and how they will cope with oncoming winter weather.
Then packages arrive from America – with clothes and food and paper and pencils.
Can small gifts of paper and crayons begin to heal these broken lives?
And their thank-you drawings are sent to the USA, seen by thousands and remembered over the decades.
Based on the author’s experiences as a young girl born in Hiroshima just after World War II ended, hearing survivors’ stories and becoming part of a rebuilding nation. As usual in Japanese fiction, quotation marks aren’t used in the dialogue, but readers will soon be caught up in the story without need of this punctuation.