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Hiroshima-born Sadako is lively and athletic--the star of her school's running team. And then the dizzy spells start. Soon gravely ill with leukemia, the "atom bomb disease," Sadako faces her future with spirit and bravery. Recalling a Japanese legend, Sadako sets to work folding paper cranes. For the legend holds that if a sick person folds one thousand cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the extraordinary courage that made one young woman a heroine in Japan.

"An extraordinary book, one no reader will fail to find compelling and unforgettable." - Booklist

 

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, ELEANOR COERR's lifelong fascination with Japan began when she received a book called Little Pictures of Japan one Christmas. Her best friend in high school was also Japanese, introducing her to brush painting, eating with chopsticks, and origami. Coerr's first trip to Japan happened in 1949 as a reporter for the Ottawa Journal, since no other staff members wanted to travel to a war-damaged country. She learned Japanese by living on a farm near Yonago for a year.

Coerr was horrified by the aftermath of the atom bomb she saw at Hiroshima. Though the heroine Coerr would later immortalize in her novel --- Sadako Sasaki --- was still living at the time Coerr first went to Hiroshima, Coerr did not learn about Sadako and her story until a visit to Japan in 1963. Encountering the statue of Sadako at the Hiroshima Peace Park, Coerr was inspired by her courage and bravery. She began searching for a copy of Sadako's autobiography, Kokeshi, which had been copied and distributed by Sadako's classmates. 

One afternoon, while having tea with a missionary friend who had lived in Hiroshima during the war, Coerr mentioned her interest in Sadako and Hiroshima.







"Eleanor," her friend said, "you should write a biography of Sadako Sasaki for American children to read."







"I would love to," Coerr said, "but I must have Kokeshi to get all the true facts about Sadako."







Coerr's friend took her to the attic where they found a copy of Kokeshi at the bottom of an old trunk.







"It's like magic. I was meant to write her story," Coerr said.

In May 2010, Coerr attended a ceremony at New York's Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center, where Sasaki's brother presented one of the original cranes folded by his sister.

 

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