Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan’s fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden from its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.
This is a story that offers young readers insight into the Japanese culture, mindset, and daily life during WWII before the bomb was dropped-something that has not been done before. Based on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves. The Last Cherry Blossom, is a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist(southeast region), 2016 Scholastic WNDB Reading Club Selection, recently nominated for both the 2018 Sakura Medal, Japan, and Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.
“…A resonating narrative of hope, resilience, and forgiveness told in the thoughtful voice of an ordinary 12-year-old who survives extraordinary circumstances…Burkinshaw deftly weaves in historical context to enhance her personal story.” —Shelf Awareness, Featured Review
“Kathleen Burkinshaw’s graceful, clean style is a joy to read, and this story, a beautiful tribute to the life of her mother, is one that every young person should read.” —Lisa Williams Kline, author of Eleanor Hill, winner of the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award