Saturday, August 12, 2017

Author Kathleen Burkinshaw and THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.



 It is a pleasure to feature middle grade author Kathleen Burkinshaw whose book - THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM - takes place in Hiroshima, Japan in the months leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb in WWII.  August 6 was the 72nd anniversary of that event.  Here's Kathleen:

The writing journey of The Last Cherry Blossom began about 8 years ago with one question.  My daughter was in 7th grade at the time and was upset about something that happened in her history class. She said they would be covering the end of WWII and overheard some kids talking about how they couldn’t wait to see the “cool mushroom cloud picture”. She asked if I would speak to her class about the people under the mushroom cloud that day, people like her grandmother.
I called and asked my mother if it was okay to talk about her experience in Hiroshima that horrific day.  My mom was a very private person, and never spoke about it in public. When I was a young child, she told me she came from Tokyo.  Once she confided in me that she was born in Hiroshima and lost her home, family and friends on August 6th, she asked that I never speak of it either. It was too painful and she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.   

But this day she gave me her blessing to discuss what she experienced on August 6th.  She felt that since the students would be about the same age she was (12-years-old), maybe they would relate to her story. As future voters, she hoped they would remember that nuclear weapons should never be used again.
I spoke to my daughter’s class a week after the phone call. The following year I received requests from other local schools. I had been writing about my mom’s survival of the atomic bomb for my own and my daughter’s benefit.  But soon teachers inquired if I had a book that could complement their curriculum. Then the real work began!
Most amazing moment since writing the book?
It’s hard to choose but I have 3 firsts at different stages after writing the book.  The first most amazing moment was when I showed my mom the publishing contract and to see her face and tell me how proud she was that I would do this for her. Perhaps I do treasure this most of all because she passed away 2 months later.
The second moment was when I held the printed copy in my hands, seeing my name on it, smelling the new pages. I still get that same rush whenever I see it on a book shelf.
The third was when received my first fan mail. One a letter from a student who didn’t like reading, but after reading my book wanted to read more books!   

2 comments:

  1. What a powerful subject--and what a beautiful cover!

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  2. Great subject, great title (adore it!), and great cover!

    ReplyDelete