Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

by Eleanor Coerr

Paperback, 2000




Scholastic (2000), Edition: English Language, 79 pages


Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes to verify the legend that by doing so a sick person will become healthy.


½ (379 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
I first read this booki in sixth grade when we did our red team project of folding a thousand paper cranes. I personally folded at least a hundred of those cranes (and remember that that means that out of sixty to eighty kids I did one tenth of the folding- I even folded a whole bunch of cranes out
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of mini Reeces peanut butter cup wrappers. I never stopped folding- I even used to make them as Girl Scout swaps. Anyway, the story is really inspiring, and my second grade reading group loved it when I read it with them. They were full of questions and enjoyed learning about a new culture.
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LibraryThing member mcrotti
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl growing up in Hiroshima in the aftermath of the atom bomb. Sadako is the best runner in her class, but one day after a race she becomes dizzy. The dizziness becomes worse over time, and finally
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Sadako is diagnosed with leukemia as a result of the radiation from the bomb. While visiting her in the hospital, her best friend relates a legend stating that if a person folds a thousand paper cranes, they will recover from their illness. She completes 644 cranes before she passes away from her illness.
This book would be a good resource for libraries to carry because it introduces children to a tragic moment in history without being too graphic. Some aspects of Japanese culture are also referenced, such as traditional food, holidays, and rituals to honor deceased relatives.
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LibraryThing member rturba
Historical Fiction
Media: charcoal
characterization: Sadako is the main character and she is round because we know about her history and about her character, how energetic and imaginative she is. She is also dynamic, because during the book she changed dramatically due to her illness.
Theme: the value
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of life
Review: This is a good example of historical fiction because it centers around historical events, such as the bomb which landed in Hiroshima. However, when it talks about the magic of the paper cranes you realize that it is fiction, but because of the set up of the story it is completely believable.
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LibraryThing member sgialibrary
Based on a true story, this book celebrates the courage that made one young woman a heroin in Japan.
LibraryThing member RubyDi
I just loved this book. My teacher read it to us in elementeray once and I had remembered it for years. I finally got my own copy. It is such a touching story that reminds you to never give up hope. Sadako, and others her, will forever be remembered with this book.
LibraryThing member MissTeacher
This is a sweet story about a young girl's struggle with leukemia and the fear she faces of death. The story and the language are simplistic, yet it doesn't come across as a childish story. Details are minimal, and the author focuses on what Sadako is feeling rather dissipating emotion with long
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descriptions. The sentence structure is within grasp of even struggling readers, and the story is not lost to them. Sad, yet heartwarming and hopeful.
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LibraryThing member Junep
Grade 2-6-The touching story of a terminally ill girl . Based on the true story of a young Japanese girl who contracts leukemia as a result of the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, the story follows Sadako as a healthy schoolgirl winning relay races, through her diagnosis with the atom bomb
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sickness, to her long stay in the hospital. It is in the hospital that she first begins making origami cranes to pass the time. Her ultimate goal is to make 1000, but she dies with only 644 completed. Sadako's classmates finish making the remaining cranes, and all 1000 are buried with her.
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LibraryThing member cranbrook
The true story of a brave ten-year-old girl suffering leukemia as a result of radiation fallout from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima when Sadako was only two. She attempts to put into effect the Japanese custom of folding 1000 paper cranes in order to become healthy again.
LibraryThing member prkcs
Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes to verify the legend that by doing so a sick person will become healthy.
LibraryThing member selenasalinas
Sudoku and the thousand paper cranes is an incredible book I love it. I think it’s astonishing because Sudoku never gives up with her illness she thinks that by folding a thousand paper cranes she will live and not be ill anymore but when she becomes too weak her folding stopped. She was only
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able to make 644 paper cranes. To me it seemed like a journey because she was trying to survive with a belief of hers and hoping it would help her survive from leukemia. When I finished reading the book I couldn’t believe that she died. It was very sad for the people who knew Soduko but in her honor they finished the rest of the paper cranes and made a statue of her. This is the most heart warming story I have read. I recommend this book it is very interesting and makes you value more your life.
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LibraryThing member technodiabla
I read this to my 6 year old daughter. I thought the writing was uninspired but the story was good. It gave me an opportunity to discuss some weighty subjects with my daughter and gave her some context to understand them.
LibraryThing member LillyHuynh
This book is about a girl who becomes a victim of leukemia after the atom bomb was dropped on Japan. Years after the bomb hit, civilians were getting diagnosed from the radiation and Sadako becomes a young victim. Sadako comes from a small family. She is athletic and is always high spirited. The
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book mentions Peace Day, the day to honor those who have passes along from the radiation from the bomb. The book follows the life of Sadako when she first starts feeling the disease kick in and how tired it ended up making her feel. It also covers aspects of what Sadako thinks death is. While at the hospital Sadako learns that when a person who is sick makes a thousand paper cranes, then they will live on for a thousand years.

I enjoyed reading this book because it shed light on those who were affected by the aftermath of the bombing. This would be a good mentor text for writing because it introduces the genre of historical fiction. Students would be able to create and write their own historical fiction stories.
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LibraryThing member Terpsichoreus
It is a difficult question: how to breach, for our children, the concepts of death, of war, of hope, and of the inescapable. When we scale it down, to one person, to one pain, that is when we feel it the most. But when we do this, we miss out on all that surrounds it. By concentrating on one
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person, you can turn a mutual war into a directed crime, and there lies the danger.

It is not uplifting to see a little girl die slowly, of something she cannot understand, to have her promise of a life revoked, but this is not all there is to the matter. As human beings, it is easy for us to look at the suffering of a few, especially a spectacular suffering: nuclear weapons, the Holocaust, 9/11, and feel enraged.

And it should upset us. War is unequal, unfair, and makes a mockery of beauty, art, and humanity. But it is always too easy for us to forget the other side.

So many people react to this book with sorrow for the little girl, with a sense that the nuclear weapons were a tragedy, unnecessary, and inhumane. I cannot argue those points, there is far too much there, and I would never suggest that mass death is a beneficial thing.

However, we might ask ourselves where are the books about all the children the Japanese soldiers killed? Perhaps they didn't use nuclear weapons, but the Japanese practiced total war, which meant hundreds of thousands of civilians dying every month. They slaughtered children, they took slaves and worked them to death in mines.

The Japanese planned to recruit every man, woman, and child during the final invasion, to blow up American tanks with fifteen year-old boys strapped to bombs. Even after the first atomic bomb was dropped, the Japanese command--including the Emporor--rallied to continue the war, even passing off the bombing itself as an industrial accident.

It is important to recognize the suffering of others, but it seems we too often concentrate on the suffering of one person over another. Perhaps it is easier for us to concentrate this way. Perhaps it is easier to see something spectacular and terrifying like the 2,752 deaths of 9/11, and ignore the 1,311,969 Iraqis dead since. Or look at the death of Jews in the Holocaust and ignore the Poles, Romany, Atheists, and Homosexuals who died alongside them

I sometimes fear that by hiding death from our children, we do not allow them to think about death except for isolated, melodramatic stories. If we cannot learn confront death except when it spectacular, then we will never really try to stop it, because we will only focus on the rare cases, and fail to notice that people death is no less final from untreated disease as from a gun.

There is another curious fact in this story: that the little girl does not finish her thousand cranes before she dies. In the real-world events this story is based on, she did finish the thousand, and continued on until her death. Of course, since the book posits that her wish was to stay alive, perhaps the author thought that to have her reach her goal and still die would be too sad.

I find this disappointing, as the author could have transferred the wish here: that no one can stand against their own death, but even as we face our own, we may fight for something greater, we may try to fight against a world of senseless death.

Are we afraid to tell our children it is a fight we can never win? Does that make it less worth fighting? Wouldn't it be better for them to learn that now, from someone they love and trust, rather than to discover it later, when they are already in the middle of the confusions of life? What could be more disheartening than suddenly having that dream snatched away?

Perhaps I am silly to expect more of children's books than I do of adult books, but then, I've found I can expect more from children than from adults. I am of the opinion that the best way to prevent children and adolescents from sex is by giving them all the difficult, unpleasant details. I think the same goes for war. This doesn't mean showing them footage of either act, but an open, honest sit-down beats a dramatized, nationalistic euphemism any day of the week.
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LibraryThing member Andreawallin
Reaction: Christina Moore narrates this unforgettable story with great emotion, giving more evidence to the cruelties of war. This is a raw account of life in Hiroshima many years after the atomic bomb dropped. I think because this is based on a true story and the protagonist is a young, loveable
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girl full of promise, the story deeply affects the audience.
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LibraryThing member JanaRose1
"If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again." Sadako was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on her home town of Hiroshima. Ten years later she developed leukemia as a result of radiation from the bomb. "Sadako and the Thousand
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Paper Cranes" is a heart-breaking tragedy of a brave little girl who desperately wanted to live. Highly recommended, this book will bring you to tears as you count with Sadako as she folds her paper cranes.
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LibraryThing member mmuncy
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes was set in post atomic bomb Japan. A girl named Sadako was very young when the bomb was dropped. At the time the story begins she is nine and a normal young girl. Sadako loves to run and hopes to make the junior high team the next year. One day while running she
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becomes dizzy, but does not tell anyone. This happens again several times until she finally collapses in front of her teacher. Her father is called and she is taken to the hospital. She is diagnosed with leukemia due to the radiation of the bomb. Sadako’s friend, Chizuko, brings her a paper crane and reminds her of an old legend that says if someone who is sick will make a thousand paper cranes their wish will be granted. Sadako sets to work making cranes and with every one she wishes to be well. Sadako slowly worsens and eventually dies before all thousand cranes are made. So that she can be buried with a thousand cranes her classmates complete her project.
I had never read this book before and found it very touching. I think students would find the effects of war on civilians to be an interesting topic.
An activity to do to follow up reading this book would be to have the students learn how to fold an orgami crane. If the students know someone who is sick they could even send the cranes to that person.
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LibraryThing member JoNe0597
LibraryThing member ahauze
such a touching book based on a true story
LibraryThing member ally.hughes87
A couple years after the drop of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, lively Sadako finds herself ill with the atom bomb sickness. Sadako's friend Chizuko gives her hope by reminding her "If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again".

I remember
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being read this story in Elementary School and being taught how to make a paper crane of my own.

There are many classroom connections that you could do with this book. You could use it in a World War II themed lesson or in a lesson on different cultures and traditions. The book brings up many traditions and things revolved around every day life in Japan, students can compare their traditions and every day life to that of Sadako.
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LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
This story is based on the true story of a young Japanese girl who contracts leukemia as a result of the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War 2. The story starts with healthy schoolgirl Sadako, who wins relay races and enjoys life. Gradually she gets sick and is
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eventually diagnosed with leukemia as a result of the atom bomb. Whilst in the hospital a friend gives her an origami cranes and tells her the story that if a sick person makes 1000 paper cranes than they will get well. Sadako only makes it to 644 before she dies. Sadako's classmates finish making the remaining cranes, and all 1000 are buried with her. I challenge anyone to read this book without sobbing in the last pages as I did. A moving story.
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LibraryThing member jenunes
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a gripping tale of a young girl battling the effects of a war she was too young to even remember. Written at an upper elementary or middle school level, the book is short enough that it could be read as a weekend assignment, and poignant enough to spark many
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discussions on a plethora of topics. Whether I am teaching literature or history, this book would definitely be on my list to use in my classroom.
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LibraryThing member erineell
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes gives readers insight to life in Japan shortly after the atomic bomb was dropped. Sadako and her family live in Hiroshima. She goes about her days being consumed with the thoughts of racing fast and making her junior high track team. Even on Peace Day, a
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memorial day to celebrate and honor those who died from the atom bomb, Sadako feels invincible and far removed from the Thunderbolt (atomic bomb). This changed quickly after she falls ill and is diagnosed with Leukemia. While in the hospital, her best friend visits her bringing a paper crane. Sadako is reminded about the legend behind the paper cranes; if a sick person makes a thousand the gods will make her healthy again. Sadako begins a journey of folding paper cranes, in which she finds comfort. This act of folding paper cranes evokes the message of hope, courage and peace. Eleanor Coerr writes in such a way to give readers an understanding of the impact that this event has on Japanese culture and society. The truthfulness and rawness of the aftermath of war, specifically for the Japanese people, is rightfully depicted. Although this book can be labeled as historical fiction, it gives a message that is relevant to readers today- who know of war and hear of it, but have not been violated by it (experienced first hand). The magnitude of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima on the people of Japan is similar to that of 911. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Crane is an quick, but powerful read.

Age Appropriate: 4th grade and up
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LibraryThing member kimbykunishige
Based off a true story about a young girl named Sadako Sasaki, one of the most touching books I have read about the atomic bomb hitting Hiroshima. I think this book is perfect for students who are around the fourth grade. In this book, Sadako is easy to relate to. This could be used when talking
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about World War II and the fair treatment of all people.
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LibraryThing member stharp
An incredible biography! One of the best portrayals of a child's tragedy I have ever read. This book has such a powerful theme and tone. The way the author writes is almost poetic, not literally, but in the way that the literature sinks deep into the heart of you as a reader. A wonderful portrayal
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of a part of world history that is sadly overlooked.
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LibraryThing member avcr
While Sadako and her family honor the death of Sadako’s Grandmother, who died in the bombing of Hiroshima, little do they know that the atomic bomb is not finished claiming victims. Sadoko is a promising runner, with tremendous spirit. She first notices the dizziness during one of her races. It
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is terribly portentous that her father takes her to the same hospital that they took those who had the atom bomb sickness. She meets Kenji in the hospital; he was not even born, but contracted the disease from his Mother’s body. He dies, and Sadako is devastated. The most vile and heinous quality of men fighting for power, land, and money is that innocent children suffer and die because of it. After she died on October 25, 1955. Her classmates folded 356 more cranes to add to the ones Sadako had folded and buried one thousand cranes with her. They made a statue of her and a plea for peace in the world—I cried.
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Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — 1981)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 1980)
WAYRBA: Western Australia Young Readers Book Award (Winner — Younger Readers — 1981)
Reading Olympics (Elementary — 2024)


Original language


Original publication date



0439168244 / 9780439168243
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