A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson

A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson

A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson, illustrated by Akira Kusaka (9781541521483)

Grandmother’s bowl is precious for their family. Sachiko and family live in Nagasaki. At dinner, grandmother’s bowl is brought out and filled with food, Everyone bows their heads, pressing their hands together and says “itadakimasu.” Soon war comes to Nagasaki with its noises and the lack of food and other supplies. As the war continues and intensifies, the food in grandmother’s bowl changes too, becoming less and less. The family survives air raids, until one gets through. One of Sachiko’s siblings is killed in the blast. Her family leaves Nagasaki on foot, until they reach a hospital. Her brothers are very ill and both die from radiation from the bomb, other members of her family die too. Ice chips are all that help the survivors quench the burning. Two years later, Sachiko and her family return to Nagasaki and in the rubble of their home find grandmother’s bowl, unbroken and not even chipped. Going forward, ice chips are placed in the bowl on the anniversary of the bombing, watched as they melt away.

This picture book version of the award-winning book for older children, Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Journey, allows the story of Sachiko to be shared with elementary-aged children. Stelson manages to pare the story down, writing in poetic lines that capture the horror of war and atomic bombing as well as the wonder of finding anything still intact afterwards. The symbolic nature of the bowl and the ice chips is incredibly moving and repeats in the book so that readers deeply understand the loss and work that must be done.

Kusaka’s illustrations are beautifully spare. She has created touching moments that show the family around their table with the bowl at the center. When the bomb hits, the pages turn from a red burst to blackness. It’s a powerful use of image without words.

A book about war with a strong focus on peace. Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Carolrhoda Books.

News to Wake Your Brain Cells – August 7


10 best children’s books about anxiety for kids who worry – Hello!

15 diverse children’s and young adult books recommended by kids – Today

25 magnificent middle grade novels to get your hands on ASAP – BuzzFeed

Judy Blume’s teen classic ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ turns 50 – The Jerusalem Post

LeVar Burton is still reading to us during the pandemic – NPR

The Secret Garden: Film Review – Hollywood Reporter


Berkeley Public Library poised to get first permanent director in 3 years – Berkeleyside

Canadian libraries respond to ‘Globe and Mail’ essay attacking public libraries – Bay Observer

Disinfectant, gloves and quarantined books: how Massachusetts libraries are coping as they slowly reopen – WGBH

Hennepin Co. libraries ready for bigger role as distance learning approaches school year – KARE

How libraries stretch their capabilities to serve kids during a pandemic – KQED

Internet Archives fires back in lawsuit over Covid-19 Emergency Library – Motherboard


9 great August 2020 YA releases to TBR – Book Riot

August 2020 YA book releases – Nerd Daily

How YA novelist Elizabeth Acevedo celebrates Caribbean-American teens – Island Origins