Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Cherry Blossom” as Want to Read:
The Last Cherry Blossom
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Cherry Blossom

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while thi
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Sky Pony
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  645 ratings  ·  186 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Last Cherry Blossom
Kate Olson
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book to #kidlitexchange for review purposes - all opinions are my own. I did already have a copy in my school library as well.

Haunting and impeccably written for a middle grade audience, THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is a required purchase for middle grade libraries and classrooms. This story follows 12-year-old Yuriko and her family in the time period surrounding and including the August 6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima at the end of Word War II. In a
A haunting tale for children about the bombing of Hiroshima.

One that was put into writing in novel form by the author at the urging of all the teachers whose classrooms she visited to share her mother's story.

The book is adapted from Kathleen's mother's life as a young girl living in Hiroshima.

More than half of the book brings into her daily life. We become a 9 yr old girl with a family and friend and daily trials and pleasant things. Best of all, she has a devoted Papa who calls her Joya.

Amber Smith
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kathleen Burkinshaw tells a powerful, heartbreaking, and deeply moving story about the devastating impact of nuclear war (and the senseless hatred that fuels it), all from the perspective of a twelve year-old girl growing up in Hiroshima in the final days of WWII.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most important books I've read in a long time - I envision The Last Cherry Blossom finding space alongside books as crucial and needed as Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl. Haunting and hopeful
Tarun Shanker
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Last Cherry Blossom opens on our main character, Yuriko, hiding under a school desk, torn between the panic of another air raid and her desire to receive a grade on her thoroughly-researched family history project. These sorts of harrowing contrasts continue throughout the story, growing only more powerful as Kathleen Burkinshaw immerses us in the world of a 12-year old girl trying to live her life in Hiroshima during World War II, the year before the atomic bomb was dropped. Complicated fam ...more
Wendy MacKnight
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
What a beautiful book. When I began reading The Last Cherry Blossom, I wondered if I would feel a compulsion to read ahead to the event (the bombing of Hiroshima), as if that might be THE centerpiece of the book, but I was wrong. Instead, I found myself completely captivated by the central character, Yuriko, and her family and friends in the dying days of the war in Japan. Burkinshaw wisely begins the story well in advance of the destruction and vividly paints a world of honour, secrets, and the ...more
Lois Sepahban
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to read an ARC of THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.

This book is timely and important. It is the story of Yuriko and her family who live in Hiroshima during World War II. It is beautifully written and the characters are a reminder that people are people--wherever they live, whatever side they are on.

As this is the story of what happened in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the story is inevitably sad. But like the cherry blossoms that bloomed after the bombing, it is also a story of resilience and
Kylie May
This book was amazing! It would definitely be one of my favorites. It is about a girl whose town is hit by the Hiroshima bombing. I liked this book because it was very unique in the time and setting. It also goes through every day events that happened to children and their feelings through everything they went through.
Alex  Baugh
August 6, 2016 marks the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, followed by the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9th. And by now, most readers are familiar with the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. Sadako's compelling story focuses on her illness 9 years after being exposed to the deadly radiation that resulted in the aftermath of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. However, we don't really learn much about what Japan was like during the war, before ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
For Kaska-boom: I saw this book promoted on a PBS news program that originates from Tokyo. The author's mom is the main character in this book. The story begins about ten months before the bombing of Hiroshima which is great because we get nearly a year to get to know her, her family, their customs, and get a feel for the Japanese culture of the time. I'd love to see this book used in classrooms. There's so much WWII based on the Holocaust -- which of course there should be -- but the Pacific th ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this book takes you through a lot of emotions as you experience events through the eyes of Yuriko, who lives in the shadow of a terrible war whose purpose she does not understand but whose effects she feels deeply nonetheless. it's a moving story of family secrets, love and loss, survival and hope. ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One war yet so many different perspectives. I have read so many stories revolving around WWII but none from Japanese viewpoint; so when I came across 'The last Cherry Blossom', I had to read it and such an astonishing story it turned out to be.

Told from the eyes of a young Japanese girl Yuriko, this book gives us a glimpse of the lives of children during the war and the way it impacts them. Living in a happy household of Hiroshima during the war, the life of Yuriko was all good when real danger
Amber K.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Haunting. This is a story I know I will never forget. The unimaginable pain and anguish brought on by a nuclear bomb is unacceptable, just as the book states. Reading it in the political climate we live in right now is unsettling and leaves me feeling so very uncomfortable. However books like this are so important to read and raise awareness so history does not hopefully repeat itself.
Carol Baldwin
Spoiler Alert!!

Fears and Mysteries

Twelve-year-old Yuriko has become accustomed to daily air raid drills and the sounds of American B-29's flying over Hiroshima. But even though the sounds are familiar, she is always worried: Will we actually get bombed? What if the school collapses? Will a desk actually protect me? Is my papa safe? How will I find him if a bomb hits us? (p. 2)

With that foreboding introduction, the reader is propelled into Yuriko's world in 1944.

Before Yuriko leaves school in th
Kester Nucum
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received a free signed finished copy of this book from the author for review consideration. This will not affect my review in any way.

The Last Cherry Blossom means a lot to me as an American and as a Filipino. As I’ve learned more and more about World War II as an American student, it is very easy to villainize people in the Axis powers and in the Soviet Union. Many times, it’s true and justified—the Nazis and fascists of Germany and Italy executed millions of people they deemed “i
Review copy: Digital ARC

The Last Cherry Blossom pulled me into the past and held me there from beginning to end. Yuriko and her family are living in wartime Japan and the author brings readers into their daily life. I thought that the book was mostly going to be about the bomb in Hiroshima, but the vast majority of the book is about life before the bomb. Readers get to see into the everyday activities and worries of children during the war. It was interesting to find out that in the media the g
Have you ever read a book that guts you from beginning to end and then you try to write a review but you simply can’t get your thoughts in order? Well The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw is that book. Told through the eyes of her mother as a young girl living in Japan during the WWII, Yuriko take us through her daily life. From the simple things in family life (such as her love/hate relationship with her annoying cousin Genji) to her love and devotion for her papa. We the readers get ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

For Yuriko (sometimes called Joya by her father), life in Hiroshima is fairly pleasant, even with the advent of WWII. When her aunt Kimiko and her obnoxious son Genji move in with her and the privations of war intensify, things are less pleasant. Still, both Kimiko and her father are planning to remarry, and there are plans to be made for the celebration, and family secrets are revealed. When the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, these secrets are of li
Sage Knightly
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Last Cherry Blossom is a heart breaking tale about life for young Joya as World War II rages on around her (though it feels far away). They ration their food, give up their metals, and their kids are sent to war or to work in factories unless the are lucky enough to stay home. Through tough discoveries and major losses, Joya finds a way to push through, even though she didn’t really want to. My heart broke as this book showed me what young Joya went through, and it is very important that thi ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review

I did not intend to read this book on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing but sometimes things are just meant to be.

This book made me cry. And it is one that I am putting on a shelf of books that I will give my niece when she's old enough to read and appreciate the message in this story.

Burkinshaw bases this book off her own mother's experiences during WWII. This book is well done and perfect for readers of all age
Kerry Cerra
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
Before I go any further, let me state that this is an important book! The story of 12 year old, Yuriko, will touch you in ways you may not have thought possible. Set in Hiroshima, Japan before and after the dropping of the atomic bomb, this gut-wrenching story allows us to experience the war through the eyes of a little girl. Having been taught here in America that the Japanese were our enemy at that time, this story places a human face to warfare—a little girl, supposedly our foe, who had the s ...more
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is a story that needs to be told. Of the other side of that infamous bomb. Children may have learned that it served to end the war. But have they ever truly empathized with the children living in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped?

In this story, they can, through the eyes and life of twelve year-old Yuriko.

We see how much she loves her Papa and her best friend, and how annoying she finds her cousin Genji. We live the air raids with her and travel to the country when Papa s
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Brief thoughts originally published 27 January 2017 at Falling Letters.

I visited Hiroshima a couple of years ago. Visiting the Peace Memorial Museum was one of the most sobering experiences I’ve had. This book compliments historical artifacts and information by focusing largely on what life was like for a young girl growing up in Japan during WWII. Told in first person, Burkinshaw’s writing is sensitive yet evocative. Burkinshaw’s mother’s experience surviving the Hiroshima bombing loosely inspi
Jill Diamond
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Last Cherry Blossom is the powerful story of Yuriko, a twelve-year-old girl in Hiroshima during World War II. Yuriko is not only dealing with upheaval due to the war, but also must cope with revelations and change in her own family prior to the bombing of her city. In this book, the author crafts a tale of friendship, love, loss and change, and seamlessly weaves in history and Japanese culture. The Last Cherry Blossom is emotionally moving and artfully told from a fresh perspective that is b ...more
Shannon Hitchcock
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM, sweeps us away to another time and place, the city of Hiroshima, Japan during WWII. The story unfolds through the eyes of twelve-year-old Yuriko, who lives with her beloved papa in a well-to-do household. We meet her best friend Machiko, and her annoying younger cousin, Genji. Life is good, but there is ever-present danger, made real by air raid sirens.

And then the Americans drop the atomic bomb.

The author's mother was a Hiroshima survivor and THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM i
Casey Lyall
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Last Cherry Blossom is an affecting tale that's beautifully written and gracefully told. It's an incredible story that takes historical events and makes them personal for the reader. Through the eyes of Yuriko, we see her daily life in the days leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima. Family secrets cast a shadow as deep as the on-going war. Yuriko and her best friend have a delightful relationship. I also enjoyed the connection between Yuriko and her papa. They all share sweet moments that m ...more
A.E. Conran
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had to finish the last chapter of The Last Cherry Blossom in the car before an appointment because I had to know the ending, and I know there are moments in this book, one particularly, that will stay for me for a long time. The Last Cherry Blossom is a deeply moving evocation of the last months of WW2 in Japan from a young girl's perspective: her friendships, her love for her father, the vicissitudes of family life and how all is lost in the bombing of Hiroshima. Based on Kathleen's mother's ...more
Suzze Tiernan
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting, informative middle-grade novel about a 12 year old girl in Hiroshima before and after the atomic bomb is dropped. Nice glossary in the back of Japanese words used.
Joyce Yattoni
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am so happy that I stumbled upon this book. There are not that many books
Yuriko loves her father very much, and life is good in her Hiroshima home. While the country is at war, she and her family haven't experienced too deeply the effects of war. Still, Yuriko notes that things are changing at home as her father and her aunt plan a double wedding, and more and more young men head off to fight. But the human cost of war becomes clear to her when a popular neighbor boy dies while serving in the military. Most of the book leads up to the dropping of the atomic bomb on H ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Every historical event is distinct and affects people and places uniquely, and events are surrounded by misconceptions, misunderstandings, and differing and shifting perspectives. All wars have two sides, but, as Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” Through history books and archives our students learn only one point of view, but we must disrupt the narrative with tales from the other side.

All our students study World War II—the war in Europe and the war with Japan. It is
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw - 5 stars 4 15 May 01, 2016 10:39PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Brother's Keeper
  • This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality
  • Breaking Stalin's Nose
  • A Place to Belong
  • Charlie the Kitten Who Saved A Life
  • Snow's Kitchen: A Novella and Cookbook
  • Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird
  • The Angels of Morgan Hill (Women of Faith Fiction)
  • 1001 Cranes
  • Martin's Mice
  • Super Cats: True Stories of Felines That Made History
  • Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator
  • Tiny Paw Prints Touching Tails: Stories of Devotion, Tenderness & Healing for Those Who Love Cats
  • Mighty Moe: The True Story of a Thirteen-Year-Old Women's Running Revolutionary
  • Ninth Ward
  • Whispers of the Bayou
  • The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu
  • His Banner Over Me
See similar books…
Kathleen Burkinshaw is a Japanese American author & the daughter of a Hiroshima survivor residing in Charlotte, NC. She’s a wife, mom to a daughter about to graduate from college, and owns a dog who is a kitchen ninja. She has presented her mother’s experience in Hiroshima to middle and high schools for the past 9 years. The Last Cherry Blossom (Sky Pony Press,2016), is now a UNITED NATIONS Office ...more

Related Articles

As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to...
58 likes · 30 comments
“would have plenty of time to feel pain later.” 0 likes
“FIRST ATTACK OF KAMIKAZE SQUADRON USED ON LEYTE ISLAND.” Showa 19 October 28, NHK Radio Saturday morning report” 0 likes
More quotes…