Picture books about peace that you will want to read during summer vacation
More than 75 years have passed since the atomic bombings, but it is more important than ever to remember and pass on the story of Hiroshima. Here, we asked the staff of the Hiroshima Prefectural Library, which has a collection of more than 800,000 books, to recommend five picture books that will help us once more learn about the tragedy of war and the atomic bombing, and encourage us to think about the importance of peace.
1. A Little More (Machinto)
An almost 3-year-old girl lost her life in the atomic bomb. In the midst of her pain, she asked her mother to feed her a little more tomato, by saying “machinto machinto,” the dialectal expression meaning “a little more.”
One small child asked the author Matsutani Miyoko, “Isn’t there a book about war that us kids could understand?” This encountered spurred her to create this title.
The first edition of the picture book was published in 1978, and it is still being read to this day.
|Author||Story: Matsutani Miyoko|
Illustrations: Tsukasa Osamu
|Year of publication||1983|
|Price||1320 yen (tax included)|
|Target age||Young children|
2. The Tree that Became a Pan Flute (Pan Flute ni Natta Ki)
It is a picture book based on the true story of a Hollywood juniper in Hiroshima City Chida Elementary School which survived the atomic bomb. It was charred by the atomic bomb, but managed to grow leaves again. For more than 70 years after the atomic bombings, it has watched the children grow up in the schoolyard.
As time passed and this tree withered, it was made into an instrument called a “pan flute” as a way to pass it down to the children.
The pictures, illustrated in pale colors, make you feel like you can almost hear the gentle sound of the pan flute being played.
|Title||The Tree that Became a Pan Flute |
(Pan Flute ni Natta Ki)
|Author||Story: Suyama Hiromi |
Illustrations: Kogashiwa Kaori
|Publisher||Juniors’ Visual Journal|
|Year of publication||2020|
|Price||1540 yen (tax included)|
|Target age||Lower grades of elementary school|
3. Searching (Sagashiteimasu)
Toshiyuki’s brown, decaying leather shoes are waiting for him to come up to them and say, “I’m going out!” However, Toshiyuki, who came home with large burns all over his body, never went out again ……
A clock that stopped at 8:15am and a charred lunch box are some of 14 items selected from over 2 million things in the basement of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, “searching” their owners who will never return. This is a picture book that gently talks about the events that happened in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
|Author||Maker: Arthur Binard |
Photos: Okakura Tadashi
|Year of publication||2012|
|Price||1430 yen (tax included)|
|Target age||Middle years of elementary school|
4. The Missing Family of Hiroshima (Hiroshima Kieta Kazoku)
Before the atomic bombing, people lived very happy lives in Hiroshima, even during the wartime. The girl smiling with a cat on her back, who is featured on the front cover, has a lovely expression on her face that will captivate those who see her. The person who took this photo was her father, a camera lover. This photo book, put together in the style of a photo album, paints a vivid picture of a 6-person family’s peaceful and enjoyable life together.
However, the whole family suddenly lost their lives in the atomic bombing on August 6…
|Title||The Missing Family of Hiroshima|
(Hiroshima Kieta Kazoku)
|Author||Author: Sashida Kazu |
Photos: Suzuki Rokuro
|Publisher||Poplar Publishing Co, Ltd.|
|Year of publication||2019|
|Price||1815 yen (tax included)|
|Target age||Middle years of elementary school and above|
5. The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima in Pictures (E de Yomu Hiroshima no Genbaku)
Nasu Masamoto, the author of the Zukkoke Sanningumi series, was exposed to the atomic bomb when he was 3 years old. Nasu details the situation of the town before the war and everything from the damage caused by the atomic bomb to the city’s reconstruction, using the testimony of the survivors.
The paintings are “reproduced so that they look as close as possible to the way things looked in those days” by the artist Shigeo Nishimura, who conducted extensive interviews.
This book also describes the principles of nuclear explosions and the historical background leading up to the atomic bombings, and provides an overview of the “big picture” of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
|Title||The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima in Pictures (E de Yomu Hiroshima no Genbaku)|
|Author||Text: Nasu Masamoto |
Pictures: Nishimura Shigeo
|Year of publication||1995|
|Price||2860 yen (tax included)|
|Target age||Upper years of elementary school|
Hiroshima Prefectural Library
Address: 7-47 3chome, Sendamachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture (in Hiroshima Prefecture Information Plaza)
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