Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story
Written by Caren Stelson

Publisher’s Summary:
This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui’s survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. Having conducted extensive interviews with Sachiko Yasui, Caren Stelson chronicles Sachiko’s trauma and loss as well as her long journey to find peace. This book offers readers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II and their aftermath.

Primary Source Pairing:
The story of Sachiko is one that will stay in your heart and mind long after the book has been closed. Her bravery and strength are incredible. This book, created by Caren Stelson, is a tribute to Sachiko, her family, and the brave men, women, and children who survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told in an alternating format, this book combines Sachiko’s story in chapters with facts from history interspersed on the beige pages. Sachiko’s firsthand account and the secondhand account of the historical context create an opportunity for the reader to make a personal connection with a historical figure and also increase background knowledge. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story is narrative nonfiction at its best.

For this primary source pairing, invite students to not only read the text within the book but also to take the time to read the images. Primary sources such as maps, photographs, wartime posters, and handwritten notes are included within the pages of this book. Model the reading strategy of stopping to examine a photograph, map, or other primary source, reading the caption, and studying the image. Print and distribute the reader’s bookmark for Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story (shown above and linked below) to support this primary source analysis process.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Examine the primary source.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What is happening in the image?
  • How does the image connect to what you are reading?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • How does this primary source help you understand the struggles experienced by the hibakusha, or those who survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
  • What questions do you still have?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Sachiko_ReadersBookmark: Created by JMarek

Additional Resources:
Author Caren Stelson’s website:
Extension and Discussion Guide: created by Caren Stelson