Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

In Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr, Sadako is a sixth-grade girl who loves to run in school races and spend time with her friends and family. One day she begins to have dizzy spells, which worsen until she ends up in the hospital. She is diagnosed with leukemia, or the “atom bomb sickness.” Sadako grew up in the aftermath of the atom bomb, dropped on her hometown of Hiroshima when she was just a baby in 1945. Many people got sick in the years after the bomb from its radiation.

During Sadako’s long stay in the hospital, her best friend shares with her the tradition of making one thousand paper cranes as a way to heal and inspire peace. Sadako starts to fold hundreds of paper cranes. Sadako’s story became well-known, and many people have been inspired to make paper cranes for peace, just like she did. If you want to make your own paper cranes, click here.

Eleanor Coerr first heard of Sadako’s story when she traveled to Japan in 1949 as a journalist. While visiting Hiroshima, she heard of the story of Sadako’s lost autobiography, Kokeshi. She was lucky enough to find an original copy in a missionary’s trunk and used it as the basis for Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Although Sadako’s story is short and quick to read, it will stay with you for a long time.