Soul Lanterns — Review

Thought for the Day:

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
~ W. Somerset Maugham ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

This is just for fun. Mental Floss has a terrific list HERE by Erin McCarthy of 56 Delightfully Unusual Words for Everyday Things. C’mon. Clinchpoop? Fimblefamble? Rechauffe? These are great words, and we should get them back into use.

Laurence MacNaughton has a terrific guest post HERE on Fiction University with 3 Powerful Ways Pros Create Character Conflict. These ideas are really helpful.

If you need to complete a draft of a novel in a hurry, HERE is a post from M. L. Davis on Uninspired Writers that has Novel Writing: Tips for Faster First Drafts.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend. I always hesitate to do the automatic Happy Holiday wish because this isn’t that kind of holiday. I never lost anyone in my family to a war, but my father served, and we always held this day as a special one for our country, one that should be filled with thoughtful respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedoms. I can’t help but also think about all the Capitol police who were injured and died protecting our democracy on January 6th. Now a bunch of cowards in the senate have turned their backs on them, saying it just isn’t important enough to set aside the wishes of the de facto leader of their party to find the truth of what happened that day. I don’t know how we have come to such a bitterly, partisan division of our country, but I think it’s high time to get back to representing the people of this country and not one very dysfunctional person. Sorry for the rant. Just my two cents. Come back next week for some laughs. I promise not to be so serious.

Last week I offered a gently-read paperback copy of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart to one of you. There was a lot of interest with many sharing my link for extra chances. A special thanks to those of you who did that. And it paid off for Nancy! She is the winner this week. Congratulations, Nancy. I will get your book out to you this week.

For some reason, I have noticed more middle-grade books about World War II coming out recently than ever before, but very few seem to have approached the war from the perspective of the Japanese people. Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kuzki will give readers a perspective that is an important one for youngsters (and oldsters for that matter) to experience. And it is really a beautifully written story. And is’t that a gorgeous cover? Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

Set in 1970 and narrated by twelve-year-old Nozomi, this is the story of some school children in Hiroshima who, after watching a lantern ceremony to honor those lost the day the atomic bomb was dropped, choose to make “Hiroshima: Then and Now” the theme for an art show for their school. They find out that when the bomb fell, seventy thousand people disappeared in a flash, and by the end of the year, one hundred forty thousand were dead. To understand the true effect of what happened that day, the children talk to grandparents, parents, neighbors, teachers, etc. to hear their stories and get a real picture of the tremendous loss people felt. It is an eye-opening time for these young people.

Author Shaw Kuzki has written a beautiful and powerful story that will teach young readers about the horrors of war and the destruction of atomic warfare. This is a great way to present the information to a young audience, looking through the eyes of schoolchildren and learning, as they do, about this hard past. Kuzki is Japanese, and the book is translated. It reads a bit stiff, but the story and characters overcome that. Don’t miss this one.

I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

26 thoughts on “Soul Lanterns — Review”

  1. This sounds like an important book for kids to read. The cover is absolutely beautiful. I have been looking more closely at cover for my next book in the tribology and am awed by the beauty of the covers. Thanks for the post. And, yes, our representatives need to put aside their personal agendas for the sake of democracy and the people they were elected to represent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this will give an interesting perspective to a unit on WW2. I have a lot of students who love to read books about that time in history and I think this will appeal to them as well. Going to go add it to my TBR list now. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also have seen an uptick in MG stories with a WWII backdrop. I like the compelling angle of this one and will definitely be reading it soon. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.
    I actually had time to read the links today with our rainy weather keeping everyone inside. The one on conflict was very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate the rant you shared about Memorial Day and politics—I instinctively wrote a “happy Memorial Day” at the top of my post, but you’re right, there’s a lot more to this day than just celebrating and having the day off, so thanks for reminding us about that! And the stuff about the January 6 commission is frustrating, I agree. On a lighter note, I love the quote you shared at the start of the post!

    Soul Lanterns sounds like a wonderful story! I haven’t seen many books about WWII from the perspective of the Japanese people either—I read one last summer called On the Horizon by Lois Lowry that spent about half the time looking at the Japanese perspective after the bombings, but it wasn’t exclusively focused on that. The cover really is beautiful! Thank you so much for the great post, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an important book for everyone to read! When I was a teenager, I watched a documentary at school about the dropping of the bomb and was stunned into pacifism. Thank you for sharing this.

    On another note, I appreciated your rant: especially the line “. . . it’s high time to get back to representing the people of this country and not one very dysfunctional person.” So true.

    And on still another note, I particularly liked the link on writing tips to speed up a first draft. As you know, my writing was disrupted this year by moving twice, once internationally. I’m “back in the saddle again,” but I do need to hustle along and get to the end. (Even though I know how it ends.)

    Take care. Looking forward to your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Stunned into pacifism.” That must have been a great film. Thanks for all the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found a link that was useful. Always nice to see you here.


  6. I loved your quote at the beginning! Yes, Memorial Day should be a solemn day. I didn’t lose anyone in a war, but my grandfather served in WW2 and my father-in-law was stationed in Berlin, facing Soviet tanks, when the wall was built.
    This sound like an interesting read from a different perspective! And the cover is gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

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