Hiroshima by Laurence Yep.
Scholastic Inc: NY, 1995.

Hiroshima is a short and incredibly moving account of the dropping of one atom bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and its effect on the city and the world. It is factual with a simplified telling to make it accessible to young readers. It's simplicity makes it much more powerful than any textbook.

I don't know how old I was when I first had exposure to images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was 30 to 35 years after the bombings, and mostly what I saw was mushroom cloud images and the statistics of the dead and those injured by radiation. While the sheer numbers made an impression, it was brief and impersonal, and so I didn't continue to think about it for long. As simple as it is, this book makes a greater impression, because it provides an image of what it would have been like to be there.

I do not know know what age is appropriate to start dealing with such horrible things. I have not wanted to expose my children to these and other horrific issues. At the same time, I do not want to wait until high school and bombard them with the horrors and realities of the world. I think it is a mistake to NOT teach history because we don't like what happened or the controversy. My generation was mostly not taught much of what happened in the 20th century because of controversy (disagreement about facts). As a result, we are already repeating past mistakes. Any concerned parent should find out what is available and read for themselves.

For this particular book, I would recommend it for 7th grade through young adult. The story and language are simple enough for 5th grade, but the topic is young adult to adult. Maybe younger for children interested in serious subjects, but my problem with that is this subject requires discussion and looking further into the issue. Are they going to be able to deal with further study of this issue in 5th grade?
related-nuclear weapons, World War II, history-U.S. and Japan, bombardment, 1945, atomic bomb, Hiroshima Maidens, radiation, social issues, realities of war, effects of war

For those ready to handle this issue, I would also recommend
Peace, A Dream Unfolding ed. by Penney Kome and Patrick Crean.
Sierra Club: San Francisco, 1986.

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