BOOK RIOT lists THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM as one of “30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers – October, 2018″
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 nominated for 2019 NC School Library Media Association YA Book Award(MS), 2019-2020 Volunteer State Book Award, Finalist 2018 Sakura Medal, Japan, Finalist 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, 2017 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist(southeast region), Honorary Mention New England Book Festival YA Book Award, and a 2018 & 2016 Scholastic WNDB Reading Club Selection
“…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