cover image My Hiroshima

My Hiroshima

Junko Morimoto. Viking Children's Books, $13.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83181-4

Growing up in Hiroshima during the early 1940s, Morimoto spent her days playing with friends, drawing at home and attending school. This peaceful existence came to a cruel and abrupt end on August 6, 1945, when an atomic bomb was dropped on the city and 70,000 people were killed instantly. (By the end of the year the death toll had doubled.) The author's immediate family survived, but the explosion left her with vivid memories of death and destruction, which she shares in this extremely moving, powerful account. In unemotional, nonjudgmental language, she recalls seeing the burns on her father's face, watching the corpses being burned on the school's playing fields, finding the bones of friends and witnessing a child trying to wake up her dead mother. Photos and Morimoto's drawings subtly underscore the contrast between life before and after the bombing of this courageous woman's home. This is a shocking story, but one that every American child should know. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)