Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson (Walker Books) HB RRP $27.99 ISBN 9781467789035
Reviewed by Ashling Kwok
This book is a nonfiction narrative about a time in history we would sooner forget. It is the true story of 6-year old Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor, Sachiko Yasui, and her long journey to find peace.
On August 9, 1945 Sachiko’s life was forever changed. At 11.01am she was playing outside with four other children when an atomic bomb exploded half a mile away. Moments later those children were dead and her country was left in total devastation.
In the days and months that followed, Sachiko lost family members to radiation sickness, her hair fell out and she woke up screaming in the night. She found strength and understanding in the writings of Helen Keller, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr, which influenced her eventual decision to speak about this horrendous event.
When writing this book, author Caren Stelson had unprecedented personal access to Sachiko, conducting hours of in-person interviews, which enabled her to create a personal and moving history.
It is a story that is at times difficult to read but it also a story that needs to be shared, as it not only offers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II but also the horror and aftermath that ensued.
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story is a beautifully presented work, overflowing with stunning photographs and short essays on topics such as ‘Racism and War’ and ‘Long-Term Effects of Radiation’.
It is a wonderful educational tool for children as it will not only teach them about world history but also help them understand why this atrocity can never, ever happen again.