Coerr, Eleanor "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" - 1977
I remember reading a story about Sadako as a teenager. When I helped out at one of the book sales at my children's school, I came across a children's edition. It is a sad story about a Japanese girl who was born in Hiroshima and was still a baby when the atom bomb was dropped on her home town. Nine years later, she is diagnosed with leukaemia, the illness that has killed many others already. Sadako believes that if she can finish a thousand paper cranes, she will escape the deadly disease.
A beautiful story, not just about illness and death but about the way love and hope can fight it and a sick little girl can become a heroine.
This is a children's book but will be appreciated by adults, as well.
From the back cover:
"Hiroshima-born Sadako is lively and athletic - the star of her school's running team. And then the dizzy spells start. Soon gravely ill with leukemia, the "atom bomb disease," Sadako faces her future with spirit and bravery. Recalling a Japanese legend, Sadako sets to work folding paper cranes. For the legend holds that if a sick person folds one thousand cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the extraordinary courage that made one young woman a heroine in Japan."