A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

Carolrhoda. May 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541521483.
Gr 2-5–Stelson’s picture book describes a family who gathered for an evening meal and served their food in a special bowl inherited from their grandmother. No matter how much or how little food the bowl held, father, mother, sisters, and brothers all offered thanks. Living in Japan in the 1940s, six-year-old Sachiko Yasui became accustomed to wartime food shortages. When air-raid sirens announced the arrival of bombers, the family quickly sought shelter. On August 9, 1945, there was no warning, and the bomb that fell on Nagasaki had devastating consequences. Sachiko’s youngest brother was killed instantly, and her other two brothers perished a short time later. Sachiko, her parents, and her sister became ill. They recovered and eventually returned to Nagasaki. As they started to rebuild their home, they were amazed to find Grandmother’s unbroken bowl in the wreckage. When radiation slowly caused the deaths of Sachiko’s family members, she realized she must use her voice to work for peace. The untarnished bowl is an effective symbol of hope. Digitally painted illustrations convey devastation and sorrow but are not graphic.
VERDICT This book, written by the same author as the Sibert Honor–winning Sachiko, introduces the topic of nuclear war to a younger audience. A useful resource that could be tied to the International Day of Peace.

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