The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story

Sandra Moore, illus. by Kazumi Wilds. Tuttle, $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-4-8053-1347-3
First-time author Moore draws from the story of a centuries-old bonsai tree that was donated to the United States for the 1976 bicentennial. The miniature white pine, she explains, became known as the Peace Tree, “because it is a symbol of friendship between Japan and America.” The tree narrates its journey, beginning with its birth in an island forest “nearly four hundred years ago” where it is collected and subsequently tended to by a man named Otaro. An elderly Otaro gives the bonsai to his son, who passes it to his son, and so on. “In 1945, something terrible happened,” the tree says as Wilds (All About Japan) shows a tiny airplane on an page streaked with dark purples and grays; the next pages show a vast expanse of beige rubble, the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima. The tree and its caretaker survived, and Moore goes on to trace the bonsai’s path to the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Closing notes separate fact from fiction and discuss the art of bonsai in this straightforward but affecting tribute to patience, dedication, and a generosity of spirit that surmounted tragedy. Ages 8–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 07/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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