In the wake of the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of World War II, the congregation of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC, sent school supplies to the students of Hiroshima’s Honkawa Elementary School. In gratitude, the students sent back drawings—created with their new supplies—of their lives in the devastated city. These remarkable images depicted scenes of play and joy. The delicate cosmos flower, which grew and bloomed in spite of the radioactive soil, was a symbol of hope echoed in the students’ drawings. Discovered and restored decades later, these images stand as a testament to the resilience and beauty of the human spirit.
This fictionalized account begins with the rediscovery of these pictures. It is drawn from interviews with the students and teachers of Honkawa Elementary School, as well as from author Shizumi Shigeto Manale’s mother’s personal recollections. Filled with sincerity and hope, this harrowing tale is told through the voice of Hanako, a young girl whose life is abruptly shattered. Readers will experience with terrifying clarity the catastrophic effects of human destructiveness and the indomitability of the will.
About the Authors
Shizumi Shigeto Manale was born in Hiroshima three years after the end of World War II. A performing artist, she was classically trained in Kyogen and Noh theater and Jiuta-mai dance and is an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, director, and author. Manale’s awards include an ACE award for excellence in dance and drama and the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She produced the award-winning documentary Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.
Manale lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, Andrew.
Shizumi Shigeto Manale is the producer of Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard, the documentary companion piece to this book. Those interested in screening the documentary can learn more and order the DVD and license from The Video Project here.
Richard Marshall, who served as principal speechwriter for the United States delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, has worked as a writer, editor, and public affairs officer with numerous diplomatic governmental organizations. Since retiring in 2012, he has been writing full time. Marshall lives with his wife, Zakia, in Silver Spring, Maryland.