Thursday, May 25, 2006
As we come to the end of our Japan unit it is time to read about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since our textbook gives all of 3/4 of a page to WWII, I supplement with the novella Hiroshima by Lawrence Yep. The view of modern Japan given by our textbook is not exactly flattering (well, to be fair, they did some pretty awful things between 1900 and 1945) so I like to try to give a little balance about the actual bombing. This little book is told from a combination of perspectives including two fictional young women on the ground, the pilot of the Enola Gay, and various others. It tries explaining what happened on the airplane, inside the bomb, inside the blast area, and in the surrounding city. The books are written for a young audience, so the style is very simple, but the simplicity only makes it more effective. The kids really do sit and listen (more silently than any other time during the year) and then the discussions that follow are always interesting (nuclear winter, the SALT treaty, Mutually Assured Destruction, The Cold War). Once again, I am amazed by their ability to concentrate when they really try. I think everyone should read this book at some point. Every year I wait to see if I will get flack from parents because the book is told entirely from the "dovish" perspective, but so far it has never caused any trouble.