The Last Cherry Blossom

Front Cover
Sky Pony, Aug 2, 2016 - Juvenile Fiction - 240 pages
Now a UNITED NATIONS Office of Disarmament Affairs Education Resource for Teachers and Students. One of Book Riot's 30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers! Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don’t report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands.

Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bombs hit Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MrsDruffel - LibraryThing

Thank you to the @kidlitexchange network for providing this book for review. Yuriko is a twelve-year-old girl living in Hiroshima. She lives with her Papa and has a happy, well-to-do, life. But things ... Read full review

The Last Cherry Blossom

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

This debut novel, set in Hiroshima during WWII and inspired by Burkinshaw’s mother’s childhood, sets the stage for tragedy. Seventh-grader Yuriko lives with her widowed newspaper magnate Papa, her ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Kathleen Burkinshaw wrote The Last Cherry Blossom based on her own mother’s story of growing up in Hiroshima during World War II. She was twelve years old when the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. Kathleen lives with her husband and daughter in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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