Kathleen Burkinshaw has been presenting her mother’s August 6th experience in Hiroshima to Middle and High School classes nationally and internationally, as well as education conferences for the past 9 years. During that time she completed her debut MG historical fiction novel, THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM (Sky Pony Press, August 2016), based on events in her mother’s life during WWII and surviving the atomic bombing in Hiroshima at 12-years-old.

Ms. Burkinshaw’s presentation includes reading a section from THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM describing her mother’s experience on August 6th, as well as a portrayal of what life was like during the war in Japan. Power point slides of her mother’s personal photos, explanation of impact in Hiroshima from the atomic bomb on August 6th, and photos recently taken when she and her family visited Hiroshima last year are shown. She also discusses the damage nuclear weapons did in 1945 compared to what some are capable of now. The presentation concludes with a Q & A session.

“As Mrs. Burkinshaw was telling the story, I felt like I was there on the day of the bombing.  The details of the destruction and loss really put me into their perspective.  The facts that she told at the end were really interesting.  I didn’t know that the bomb was equal to 15,000 tons of TNT.  I can’t wait for the book!”

– Jack B. 7th Grade

“I’m so glad Mrs. Burkinshaw could come and talk to us.  Her story was amazing and it makes me want to read the book.  I could not even imagine what her mom went through.   IT kept me on the edge of my seat with the description she used.

– Allie D. 7th Grade

“Mrs. Burkinshaw’s presentation was very interesting.  She talked about her mother’s experience during the Hiroshima bomb, read parts of her book, and showed us pictures of her mother, her mother’s family, and pictures of the Hiroshima Peace Museum.  It was amazing to think that there was 15,000 tons of TNT in the bomb.  It was very fascinating to hear her mother’s story. 

Thank you so much for coming and sharing your mother’s incredible story!  I was taken aback by how much destruction and loss happened in one day.  I was inspired by the courage and strength your mother had. We could read about this all day in textbooks, but to hear the story told from your mother’s perspective makes the story real and even more heartbreaking.”

– Isabella K. 7th Grade

“Thank you so much for coming to our Zoom meeting last Thursday! I really loved your book and how you really connected your mother’s personal experiences to the plot. However, one of the main things that I enjoyed most was learning about the Japanese culture. Reading your book has really given me a great respect for Japan and people, like your mother, who survived World War 2.” 

– Sophia K, Newbury Elementary School Newbury, MA

“…your book really accentuated the fact that nuclear ombs should never be used again. Again, thank you so much for writing your book! The Last Cherry Blossom was heartfelt and inspiring.”

Heidi S. Newbury Elementary School, Newbury, MA

“We are so lucky to have you come and speak to our kids every year.  Your mother’s story is incredible and your passion for telling it makes it truly powerful.  You are such an engaging speaker!  I loved hearing the excerpts from the book.  I can already envision using it to teach how to show, not tell…..What a beautiful story.”

– M. Siadek – 7th Grade Teacher, Community School of Davidson, Davidson NC

“What a delight it is to welcome Kathleen Burkinshaw to our school.  Our students learn the facts of WWII and Hiroshima in their classes; yet Ms. Burkinshaw’s presentation gives them the opportunity to truly hear the human voice behind these tragic events.  Ms. Burnkinshaw honors her mother through the healing medium of storytelling, sharing the experiences of a twelve-year old girl whose life changed so swiftly and incomprehensibly one day in 1945.  Students are highly engaged in Ms. Burkinshaw’s gentle and poignant presentation, relating readily to her stories and gaining both a sense of the destructive force of nuclear weaponry as well as the truly courageous fortitude of a previous generation.”

– S. Dols – Media Coordinator, E. E. Waddell Language Academy, Charlotte, NC

… I am so glad I discovered your book back in 2017. My students have thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and it is an amazing way to connect history, culture,and geography with literature. With remote learning in effect, it has been a challenge to keep my students engaged. Your book captured their interest from the start…they made personal connections to the characters and to their experiences.It was an honor to connect with you via email,…and in a personal Zoom meeting with the kids. I hope we can do this again year after year.”

– Alicia Chiasson, 6th grade teacher Newbury Elementary School, Newbury, MA

Our students are fortunate to have had the opportunity to read and study your book, The Last Cherry Blossom. It is through your writing and this powerful story that they are able to open their eyes to a time and a place beyond their own. It is a story that will certainly stay with me and one I will be recommending to readers in the library!” 

– Jennifer Brown, Library Media Specialist, Newbury Elementary School, Newbury MA

Local Charlotte/Lake Norman Area

$200 (plus mileage if over 50 miles round trip)

$150 if THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is on class assigned reading list

  • one 60-90 minute presentation
  • brown bag lunch with the author for students pre-selected by teachers or extra time for Q & A about her path to publication
  • book signing session (place orders through Main Street Books in Davidson or Park Road Books in South Charlotte)

Rest of NC/Out of State In-Person Presentations

$250 plus mileage, travel expenses*

$200 plus mileage, travel expenses if THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is on assigned reading list. (please order through your local bookstore or contact Sky Pony Press)

  • one 60-90 minute presentation(can combine classes)
  • brown bag lunch with the author for students pre-selected by teachers or extra time for Q & A about her path to publication
  • book signing session

*if more than one school visit can be scheduled for the same trip, travel expenses will be apportioned accordingly.

Virtual Skype Presentations

$175 for 50-minute session. Kathleen will talk about how The Last Cherry Blossom came about, her mother’s story, read a section from her book, and share personal photos of her mother/family before atomic bombing, as well as family pictures when Kathleen, her husband, and daughter honored her mother at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims in 2015. She will also leave time for questions(about her mom, writing, or life as an author) as well.

For ideas to fund author school visits please visit this guide to finding school funding.


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