Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Grade 2-6-The touching story of a terminally ill girl is recreated in this audio version of the book by Eleanor Coerr (Puffin, 1977). Based on the true story of a young Japanese girl who contracts leukemia as a result of the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, the story follows Sadako as a healthy schoolgirl winning relay races, through her diagnosis with the atom bomb sickness, to her long stay in the hospital. It is in the hospital that she first begins making origami cranes to pass the time. Her ultimate goal is to make 1000, but she dies with only 644 completed. Sadako’s classmates finish making the remaining cranes, and all 1000 are buried with her. The recording has excellent narration and sound quality and is particularly notable for the children’s voices. Moore conveys a sense of Sadako’s gentle spirit and courage. Schools and public libraries will benefit from adding this recording to their collections. (
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Puffin Modern Classics
ISSN Number
Average: 5 (5 votes)


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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Field of Interest/Specialty: Visual Arts
Posted On: 11/17/2017

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is based on the true story of Sadako, a 12-year-old girl who lived in Hiroshima when the atom bomb was dropped. The fictional retelling of her story portrays Sadako as a spirited young girl who loves to run. She falls ill after a big race at school. After discovering that she has cancer from exposure to the atom bomb, she vows to make one thousand paper cranes so that she will be granted her wish to be healthy again.
One touching moment in the story was the day after Kenji’s death. Kenji is a little boy with cancer whom Sadako met in the hospital. The author wrote, “’Wherever he is, I’m sure that he is happy now,’ the nurse said. ‘He has shed that tired, sick body and his spirit is free.’”
This story is a very direct writing without either overly sentimental or overly unpleasant tones. The story is incredibly touching and inspirational. It provides the possibility of conversations filled with compassion for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the dropping of the atom bombs. Students of all ages would benefit from reading or listening to this story, both to provide them with contextual connections to history and to give them opportunities to gain traits of understanding and compassion. I imagine including information about Peace Day and the Peace Park in Japan would also build more connections to the importance of continuing peace throughout the world today. Sharing imagines of Sadako’s statue and the paper cranes that are placed there on Peace Day would also benefit students. Students could create paper cranes and place them in their school or local community to continue spreading ideas of peace on earth.

Not too sad for Science

Field of Interest/Specialty: science/ geology
Posted On: 11/16/2017

I have read this book to my science class to develop connections to other content. When we study human anatomy we create a model of a bone and discuss bone marrow replacement as leukemia treatments. We study electromagnetic radiation and nuclear power. We investigate historical events and the consequences to society of technological developments. But when I read Sadako it gets personal.
Sadako's loving parents and the solidarity of her classmates impress my students. The fact that it is a true story about someone their own age suffering from an extraordinary event gives them perspective on the abstract topics discussed in the science class.
Attempting the origami connects us to other classes around the world reading this book and making their own paper cranes.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Field of Interest/Specialty: ancient civilization and geography
Posted On: 03/16/2015

This is a true story written about a girl, Sadako who lived in Hiroshima Japan in the 1950's. The story opens with Sadako excited because it is time for the celebration of the annual festival: Peace Day. This is the annual remembrance for those who died in the bombing of Hiroshima. Although many people died, including her grandmother, in that bombing and many people continue to become ill with leukemia, she is excited for the carnival type atmosphere that accompanies the day's activities.
Sadako is an active child and many times her parents have to ask her to stop moving. In the fall, her class voted for her to be part of the relay team on Field Day. This is like a dream come true for Sadako. She practices running to get in shape for the big day. On the day of the race, she runs like the wind but nearing the finish line she starts to feel dizzy with pain in her chest. These symptoms continue to bother her off and on and she doesn't feel the need to tell anyone. The symptoms continue and ten years after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, she is diagnosed with leukemia. As she spends long hours in the hospital in treatment, she learns of a Japanese legend that if a sick person folds a thousand paper cranes they would be granted a wish. She makes this her personal mission and never gives up hope. She folded six hundred forty-four cranes in her mission to be cured. Her classmates finished her mission.

Review for Sadako and the Thousand Folded Cranes

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 05/01/2012

Although this book is aimed at younger readers, I used it for my high school students in 11th grade. No-one had ever read the book and for those that struggle to read, it was a low stress activity and something that they could do with confidence. Those at the high school reading level could concentrate on the message and develop a deeper understanding of the book. It is an excellent message and easy to follow up by folding cranes with the directions in the back of the book. My 11th graders really liked the book and folding the cranes.

Hope from an unlikely hero

Field of Interest/Specialty: East Asian Studies
Posted On: 04/20/2012

Sadako lived in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. She was two years old. A decade later, she was diagnosed with leukemia that resulted from the radiation of the A-bomb. During one of her visits, she was told that if she folded a thousand paper cranes, she would be granted a wish from the gods. She folded 644 cranes; her classmates folded the rest after her death. Her classmates eventually raised enough money to built a monument in her honor and that of the other children who died from exposure to the radiation. Even today people visit the Hiroshima Peace Park and leave paper cranes.