Did you know that January 27th is Multicultural Children’s Book Day? We are a family of book lovers and I am always looking for new and exciting books. As a homeschooler, I love to weave books into our home learning. I enjoyed the Multicultural Children’s Book link-up that happened across the internet last year and I am so excited to participate this year! As part of the fun, we recently had the opportunity to read The Peace Tree of Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story.
The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story by Sandra Moore
Disclosure: I received The Peace Tree from Hiroshima at no cost as part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day link-up. I was not required to write a positive view. As always, all opinions are my own and I only share products and resources that I would use with my own family.
It can be difficult to talk about dark events in history, and yet talking about these events are necessary. When homeschooling young children, it’s important to talk about heartbreaking events at developmentally appropriate levels. We want to give just enough information in order to start a foundation from which to build upon later.
The Peace Tree from Hiroshima by Sandra Moore is a beautiful story that weaves together history, geography, family, nature, sadness, peace, and hope. Published by Tuttle and illustrated by Kazumi Wilds, The Peace Tree from Hiroshima will captivate your children from the first page.
The book chronicles the true journey of a bonsai tree. Nearly four hundred years ago, in 1625, a seedling was plucked from the bank of a lake on the Japanese island of Miyajima. The man who unearthed the seedling was named Itaro. He wanted the seedling as a souvenir from his journey. Itaro returned home and planted the seedling, where he would care for it for over fifty years, painstakingly pruning the seedling into a beautiful bonsai.
When Itaro passed away, his son, Wajiro, cared for the bonsai. Wajiro showed his son, Somegoro, how to care for the bonsai. The beautiful bonsai was passed down, from generation to generation, for three hundred years. Along the way, the family moved to Hiroshima where, in 1945, a terrible thing took place: Hiroshima was hit with an atomic bomb. The bomb struck two miles from the family’s home. Thankfully, they survived but many did not. It was a terrible time of sadness, pain, and loss for the country.
In the aftermath of the bombing, the family took solace in caring for the bonsai each day. Slowly, Hiroshima began to rebuild. Twenty years following the attack, a Peace Memorial was established in Hiroshima. And, thirty years following the war, the United States celebrated its bicentennial. To commemorate the event, the Japanese people sent a selection of bonsai trees as a gift. Included in this collection was the old bonsai tree, which had lived through the bombing of Hiroshima.
The Japanese white pine bonsai, the Peace Tree, is called Miyajima after the island from which it was found. The tree is now a symbol of peace. It lives in the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Members of its Japanese family have come to visit over the years.
Do you want to take the learning to the next level?
Depending on the age of your child, The Peace Tree from Hiroshima can lead to a variety of learning opportunities, including but not limited to:
- Studying Japan and the Japanese culture
- Exploring the history of bonsai trees and raising your own
- If that task is too challenging, make a bonsai tree out of paper mache or pipe cleaners
- For older children, examining the events of WWII
Be sure to check out the Pinterest board I’ve created for this book. It’s filled with photos of beautiful bonsai trees, in addition to many activities!
Want to read more?
Tuttle Publishing has the following titles available:
For more ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to the book:
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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