The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story by Sandra Moore
Published by Tuttle Publishing
The author writes: This book is based on a true story. In 1976, the Japanese people gave the United States fifty bonsai trees (one for each of America’s fifty states) as a present for America’s Bicentennial, or two-hundredth-birthday celebration. The Emperor of Japan also added three trees from his private collection. Masaru Yamaki donated his family’s beloved bonsai tree to the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
The bonsai tree had been in the family for 300 years and we follow its story from when it sprung up on the island of Miyajima nearly 400 years ago. The story is told in the first person from the tree’s version of its own life. The tree explains that for 300 years the job of watching over it was passed from father to son. It was cared for with love until 1945 when Hiroshima was hit by an atomic bomb. The tree’s family was fortunate and only injured a little, but it took a while before the daily bonsai care happened again.
The book highlights the sadness of the Hiroshima incident and how it took many years for the families and the area to heal. Readers of the book will understand the horror and slowly watch hope unfold through the bonsai’s eyes. The author’s note is touching and explains the truth in the story and what she has changed to get to her ending. It highlights the depth of the research and that the book’s existence was known to the Japanese family that it was based on.
The illustrations compliment the story beautifully. The bonsai tree’s beauty is highlighted by watching its growth as the story progresses. During the darkness and aftermath of the dropping of the bomb it is poignant to see the brightness of the green in the tree. It is now called the Peace Tree.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Sandra Moore
Illustrator: Kazumi Wilds
Title: The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Published: July 2015