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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Hiroshima No Pika
by Toshi Maruki
Age Range: 6-8
Mii and her parents are eating breakfast when suddenly there is a terrible flash of light – first bright orange and then white, ‘like thousands of lightening bolts all striking at once’. This was the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the 6th August 1945. Mii is knocked unconscious and when she wakes up she cannot understand what has happened because everything is in darkness. The buildings tremble and begin to collapse due to the violent shock waves that follow and terrible fire rages through the city.
This is a retelling of a mother’s account of what happened to her family during the ‘Flash’ that destroyed Hiroshima. A difficult and sensitive subject for a picture book to tackle, nevertheless, it deals with a part of history that children need to know about. Toshi Maniki has managed to convey what happed in simple terms. The abstract illustrations, dark and not overly technical, help to maintain the mood and to tone down the severity of the subject matter. An ideal picture book for adults to share with older children.
Hiroshima No Pica was a Mildred L. Bachelder Winner in 1983.