- Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kuzki
Library ed. ISBN 9780593174357 $19.99
Trade ed. ISBN 9780593174340 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780593174364 $9.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 4–6
It’s 1970 in Hiroshima, and though the event happened before her birth, twelve-year-old Nozomi is deeply affected by the atomic bomb American forces dropped on her city on August 6, 1945. Her mother lights a lantern at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Festival, which gets Nozomi thinking about the bombing and how it has affected everyone around her. As a result, the art club at her school chooses to do a “Hiroshima Then and Now” theme for their exhibit, and they interview neighbors, parents, and their art teacher for personal stories to inspire the art of the exhibit, thus uniting the community. Kuzki, a the child of bombing survivors herself, presents an intimate look at the effects of the bomb a generation later, and how such an event has long-lasting impact on the community to which it happened. This English translation of a Japanese novel would benefit any classroom or curriculum discussing the bombing of Hiroshima, particularly any that need materials that present a more personal view of this historical tragedy. An author’s note gives more information about the bombing of Hiroshima and the history of the lantern festival.