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Hiroshima No Pika

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  399 ratings  ·  93 reviews
August 6, 1945, 8:15 a.m.
Hiroshima. Japan
A little girl and her parents
are eating breakfast,
and then it happened.
This book is dedicated to
the fervent hope the Flash
will never happen again,
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published August 1st 1982 by HarperCollins (first published 1981)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  399 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Casey Lawson
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I started out reading this book for my children's lit class at PSU. What first drew me to this book was the fact that it was about Hiroshima, and me being half japanese, I wanted to see what they wrote down. I mean other than japanese, japanese americans, and history enthusiast who knows a lot about what actually happened that day in Japan? I know a few people could tell me the name of the bomb that hit, and what day, but how did those people feel? what actually happened to these people?

It is an
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I will just include the review that I made for my class as it is more descriptive:

Hiroshima No Pika or the Flash of Hiroshima, is the true story about the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. The after-effects of the bomb is seen through the eyes a young Japanese family, in particular the seven year old daughter Mii. Ever year on August 6, the people of Hiroshima light lanterns to remember the dead and let them drift down the rivers that run through the city. The book warns
Jan 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I had to read this Japanese picture book for my International Children's Literature class. It's like medicine: good for you, but not enjoyable. It's the story of a small family's experience when the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The pictures are very graphic, as the bomb did away with everyone's clothes. Not only is everyone naked, but the images are unnatural and warped. I am glad I read it, however, because I gained insight into the effects of the bomb on the citizens of Hiroshima. Reading ...more
Phil Jensen
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Disturbing, gut-wrenching book about the Hiroshima bombing.

The text is composed of terse, immaculate sentences that sketch the outlines of what happened, and the illustrations graphically describe the pain and sorrow of the civilians who were bombed.

The Hiroshima bombing remains controversial to this day, with arguments being made on both sides. This book should be part of the discussion.

Recommended for: I intend to use it in Middle School the next time I teach a WWII topic. I don't know how you
Roger DeBlanck
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ypl
This non-fiction picture book is intended for upper-age elementary students. “A sudden, terrible light flashed all around. The light was bright orange—then white, like thousands of lightning bolts all striking at once.” That is the way Maruki describes the apocalyptic explosion. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are quite possibly two of the most horrific events in the history of the world, and Hiroshima No Pika takes on the sensitive subject by remembering what happened in grip ...more
Katie Carson
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this international historical fiction picture book. Initially, my first reaction to the book was the consideration that the author was from Japan. I was instantly intrigued by her perspective on a tragedy that the Americans brought on the Japanese.
After my reading of the story, I read the author, Toshi Maruki, actually got the idea for this book from her interactions with a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing. The survivor had carried with her a feeling that when she shared her e
Kitty Red-Eye
This little book is much better than my three stars express, it's just that it left me with a feeling of wrong, wrong, wrong. The format is perhaps for 3-5 year olds. But the contents is definitely not, it's the horrors of Hiroshima that day in August in 1945, and I wouldn't show that to such small children. Maybe it's a children's book for adults. I liked the illustrations. And the story is every bit as heartbreaking as the "Barefoot Gen" comics (about which I'm passionate by now), just almost ...more
Apr 16, 2018 added it
Shelves: week-6

Hiroshima No Pika is a powerful look at what happens to children, mothers, fathers and all people who are subjected to a nuclear bomb. This is a fictional account of actual events, and it should make everyone stop and think long and hard about dropping bombs on humans of any nationality. In today's international political climate, we are constantly hearing talks about nuclear weapons. Our President often casually throws out comments about bombing other countries around the world. Wh
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was discussed in my children's lit class as an example of how picture books are a FORMAT, not a GENRE, in that there is nothing inherently cute or heart-warming about a picture book. In fact, this book is quite brutal.

Maruki's art is heavy, animated, and a bit overwhelming at times in a way that is quite effective. While the atomic bomb is not a "fun" topic of conversation, it is an important one. Young people should be taught about the disastrous effects of such devastating violence,
Nothing really new for me, but it still always an event difficult to read about. Humankind is very good at doing ugly things. The story was well told, showing various things that happened because of the bomb, with fires, deaths, illnesses, etc. For me and with so few pages, it felt complete enough to present the event. The art wasn't at all my cup of tea but it worked with the story and succeeded to depict something horrible without being fully shocking.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hiroshima No Pika is a tragic story about what a young girl and her parents go through the day the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Its intended audience is 10 and up. Teaching fifth grade, I can tell you this book would not be appropriate for 10-year-olds. I would say at least high school. The book's descriptions, about what the family saw and the lasting effects the bomb had on them, were devastating. The itensity of the descriptions were shocking and disturbing. The pictures after the bo ...more
Glenn Jacobson
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-literature
Without a doubt the most gripping and horrifying picture book I have ever read, Hiroshima No Pika, chronicles the explosion of the first of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan by the United States to end WWII. One moment Mii is happily eating sweet potatoes for breakfast with her family and the next moment they are fleeing their burning house after the massive explosion. The next day consists of running from fires past dead and dying people and animals. The images as well as the explanations are r ...more
Stacy Chrzastowski
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Grade Level/Interest Level: grade 3-4
Reading Level: Lexile Adult Directed 620L level, 3rd-4th grade
Main Characters: Mii, Mother, Father
POV: third person omniscient narrator
Setting: Hiroshima

This story is about a young girl, her mother, and her father surviving the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima. The story starts off where their house explodes, they wake up, and the mother leads the daughter and carries the father who is badly burned to safety. They travel very far to escape the fire. They end up slee
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had chills and cried after reading this book and tried to imagine reading to a child of mine and the types of discussion that the graphic and disturbing images, I could only imagine, would generate. The emotion and pain conveyed by the highly expressionistic art in the book was haunting. This book would have to be read with a lot of explanation and forethought because of how devastating the subject matter truly is. I found myself questioning the actions that led up to the event and unnecessary ...more
Olivia Lagore
Hiroshima No Pika relates the experiences of a small family in Japan who struggle to survive during and in the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.
With the vibrant and powerful illustrations , reminiscent of Picasso's Guernica, the book effectively communicates the panic, pain, fear, exhaustion, and nightmarish experiences of the bombing. The books descriptions of the city before and after provide a stark contrast, moving from "...Hiroshima's seven rivers flowed quietly through the ci
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a heart-wrenching book based on the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, on August 6th, 1945. The story begins by describing how the people of Hiroshima were prepared for any attacks from the United States, and then focuses on one family having breakfast the day the atomic bomb was dropped. How the family escaped, and found refuge by a river and watched as the city was engulfed in flames and destroyed. The author's descriptions make the scenes vivid, and you can almost feel what the ...more
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I had previously heard of this book but did not think it would be so poignant. The descriptions of the scenes, the imagery and artistry depicted, the colors used and of course the view point of Mii certainly changed my mind about a simple picture book, which this book is not just a simple picture book.

Mii, a 7 year old little girl, shares her minutes before the “flash” and the hours after with enough detail that it forces you to pause and attempt to image the devastation of what a little girl s
Brandon Hardesty
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hiroshima No Pika is a picture book for older children, maybe ages 8-12. I read this as an e-book.

The book is an abstractly-illustrated depiction of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nearing the end of World War II. It focuses on a young girl and her family escaping Hiroshima after the initial impact of the first bomb.

This is definitely geared towards older children. I was shocked at some of the graphic descriptions of events: people burning, collapsing in the streets, the main character'
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While this picture is accessible for a younger audience. I think the content and images would be more appropriate for mature middle school students and older. Upper elementary students could understand the book, but I think they would need to have a substantial discussion after to process the information and feelings related to the bombing of Hiroshima. I would use this book to introduce lessons about the war or the dropping of the bomb.

The book tells the story of a family the morning of and da
Erin Reilly-Sanders
It's much harder to say that I liked this one than it is to say that it is good. I don't think that anyone is supposed to like books on this subject. The illustrations are ugly (not necessarily a bad thing) and disturbing while the story is plain, to the point and often emotionless. There is certainly something to be said for illustrations that are so different that they demand that you think about them. The flowing forms of nude people really make you want to develop reasons for their portrayal ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Il me semblait essentiel de vous parler de ce livre illustré absolument nécessaire, trop méconnu, et profondément marquant. Lors de la première lecture que j’en avais faite, quelques années auparavant, je n’avais pas pu terminer ces quelques 40 pages car les larmes avaient pris le dessus. Avec les mots justes, dans un style épuré et en même temps si imagé, Toshiko Maruki a su transmettre le témoignage qu’elle a elle-même reçu et nous l’envoie en plein cœur. Si l’horreur nous paraît aujourd’hui u ...more
Holly Smith
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This is another book based on World Ward Two. This point of view from someone in Japan during the bombing of Hiroshima. This story is based on a Wife/Mother who had the strength and courage to carry her wounded husband and pull her young daughter across multiple rivers trying to reach safety from the after math of "Little Boy". The illustrations in this book are very abstract, trying to show the horrific scene playing out in Hiroshima on that day, but still not wanting to be to graphic for a chi ...more
Sara Stelmach
The international historical fiction picture book “Hiroshima No Pika” by Toshi Maruki is a story that tells a necessary narrative of the horrors that happened in Hiroshima.The story is told through a young girl's eyes of her small family's experience of the atomic bomb. It is told with extremely graphic pictures, but this appropriate for the story. There are bodies that are naked, bloodied and warped in the picture book pages. This makes this book only appropriate for older readers. This book he ...more
Rebecca Palermo
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is about the bomb in Hiroshima during World War II. The story is told from a seven year old, Mii, and discusses the effects of the bombing, both during and after.

I liked this book and I thought it was extremely informative. The perspective of the young child really makes you realize how thankful you are for. I would be hesitant to use this book in my class due to the nudity in the illustrations. However, I found this book to be a great resource for teaching about th
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
1983 Batchelder Award Winner

This book has been controversial--many adults think that children are not ready for the disturbing subject matter or the horrible imagery. I think if I had children, I might read it to them depending on what it seemed like they could handle at the time.

In any case, it's an important subject for anyone to know about. I visited Hiroshima in 2005 and spent hours in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. After that experience, I honestly don't care what the reasons were for
Riley Elliott
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book was written about the Hiroshima bombing. I never heard about this book, until I saw it for an assignment in my LIS class. I knew what it was going to be about, based on the title. However, I was very shocked when I actually read this. I found this book very interesting, however it was disturbing to me. I would not read this to younger children. This book is meant for older students, I would say 4th grade at the lowest and up. This is a good choice to pick if you are a middle school or ...more
Alasia Kinton
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The art style is what truly drew me to this book. It is beautiful and rich, with vibrant and fiery reds and golds. The Art is akin to the ancient Japanese art style used primarily in the edo period where features would be muddled and not well defined, and people were drawn creamy and almost deformed with long faces and limbs. It fit the style of the book nicely. The story follows a family that barely survives the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and how the bomb affected them. It is an extremely dark an ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-school
This book made me cry. Hiroshima No Pika is a story based on the true account a woman retold to the author, many years after the story took place. It is the story of the woman and her daughter and husband. Mii is the daughter's name, only seven years old when the bomb dropped on their home in Hiroshima. The woman carried her husband on her back and took her daughter by the hand as the fled from the terrible scene and scorching flames.

Years later, Mii never grew and remained the size
Published: 1982, HarperCollins Publishers
Age: 12+

This story is told from the prospective of an innocent little girl named Mii, who will break your heart. As she and her mother and father are eating breakfast one morning, the atomic bomb is dropped in what the book calls, “the flash”. This is another example of the atrocities of war from the Japanese side. The story shows Mii and her mother trying to escape the devastation. Maruki doesn’t take a side, she just shows the aftermath of what happens
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