The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery #bookreview

1945, Hiroshima: Ichiro is a teenage boy relaxing at home with his friend Hiro. Moments later there is a blinding fl ash as the horrific nuclear bomb is dropped. With great bravery the two boys find Hiro’s five year-old sister Keiko in the devastated and blasted landscape. With Hiro succumbing to his wounds, Ichiro is now the only one who can take care of Keiko. But in the chaos Ichiro loses her when he sets off to find help.

Seventy years later, the loss of Keiko and his broken promise to his dying friend are haunting the old man’s fading years. Mizuki, his grandaughter, is determined to help him. As the Japanese legend goes, if you have the patience to fold 1,000 paper cranes, you will find your heart’s desire; and it turns out her grandfather has only one more origami crane to fold…

Narrated in a compelling mix of straight straight narrative, free verse and haiku poems, this is a haunting and powerful novel of courage and survival, with full-page illustrations by Natsko Seki

My thoughts

I first saw this book on Reader’s First – loved the opening chapters but didn’t ‘win’ a copy, so added it to my ‘need to buy’ a physical copy list. However, I didn’t chance to visit a bookshop due to the global pandemic and then won a signed copy direct from the author via a Twitter competition.

I finally picked up my copy to read on the VE 75th anniversary and flew through the book. The story starts in prose in modern day Japan, then we head back to Hiroshima in 1945 to discover what happened to Ichiro, his family and friends. We then return to modern day Japan and more prose.

I don’t want to give any spoilers – this is a book that should be read to appreciate the words and illustrations. It should also be used in secondary schools for English/History/PSHE lessons. I grew up as a teenager with the threat of nuclear war (and my home city of Sheffield was used as the backdrop of Threads – a film about the effects of a nuclear bomb on the city – cue some sleepless nights). This book looks at how lives changed in many ways – not just the physical damage caused.

Definitely a 5 star read for me – beautifully written, presented and thought provoking.

The author:

Kerry lives in Lincolnshire between the countryside and the sea. She has a first class honours degree in Professional Writing, has worked for BookStart, and been a finalist in a BBC Scriptwriting for children competition. She’s a proud member of Author Allsorts and The Prime Writers.

Apart from the sensible stuff, Kerry likes to run, bike and swim, and has previously spent 12 hours running over the Humber Bridge again and again… She also swims in lakes in winter in a bikini.

Cell 7 (Hot Key Books 2016) was longlisted for the Southern Schools Book Award, shortlisted for the CrimFest Best YA Award and was Spellbinding Book of the Year 2017. 
The sequel – Day 7 – came out June 2017, and the final in the trilogy – Final 7 – is out Spring 2018. 

A Brighter Fear was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards

A Dream of Lights was shortlisted for the Hampshire Independent Schools Books Award, awarded Highly Commended at the North East Teen Book Awards and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

She is also the co-coordinator of the UKYA Extravaganza events with author Emma Pass which bring readers, authors and bloggers together to celebrate UKYA talent.

View all my reviews

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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