One of the most timely and heart-wrenching middle-grade books I’ve recently read is THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw. It is my pleasure to feature the Discussion Guide for this book that should be in every classroom.
THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM
Discussion Guide: By Kathleen Burkinshaw
1.Do you have relatives who were teens during WWII in the U.S.? What were there worries or fears at that time? Were they similar to what the Japanese children felt? If different, how were they different?
2.Did you or someone you know have to deal with a new step family. Was it difficult to meld the two households together? What made it easier? Did anything that made it easier surprise you?
- Yuriko, like many of us, hated change. How would you have handled the news about her family secrets, if it happened to you?
- Why do you think the author chose THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM for her title? What do you think it signifies?
- Cite specific examples from the book that show how protective Yuriko was of her Papa. Why do you think Sumiyo came to mean so much to Yuriko? How or when does this change occur?
- What aspects of Japanese culture were revealed in THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM?
- Which cultural details interested you the most? Which details surprised you the most of life in Japan during the war?
- How do you think the time period that THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM took place influenced Yuriko’s personality?
9.What did you know about Hiroshima Japan during WWII, before reading THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM?
10.Does reading THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM change your view on using nuclear weapons in the future? Why or Why not?
11.List the Statistics of Hiroshima and state which surprised you the most? Which surprised you the least? Why?
Kathleen Burkinshaw would love to hear from you. You can email her through her contact page on her website: http://kathleenburkinshaw.com/#contact
For more information on what nuclear weapons could do if used today visit:
Also, for more information on Hiroshima bombing please visit the Kids Peace Station of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum:
Instruction on how to make an origami crane, now a symbol of hope and peace: