Monday, July 15, 2013


This spring, I requisitioned 30 copies of Hiroshima by John Hersey. Personally, I had never heard of the book until five years ago when I assigned a journal asking students what book they would recommend for me to read.  At the end of class, one of my students went to my book shelf and came back with the classroom copy.

Japan has always pulled at my heartstrings.  There were a few exchange students from Japan in my high school, and I was always drawn to be their friend.  I even took a year of Japanese in high school.

 I read the book within a few weeks of the recommendation.

I decided we would read Hiroshima this Spring. As I researched the book, I learned the the book was originally published within The New Yorker published a year after the bombing of Hiroshima.  What fascinates me is the cover.
Never would a reader suspect what the story enfolded within the magazine. The irony of the cover floors me.  I wonder if I could make this bigger and make it a book cover to give students the effect that readers had had 67 years ago.  They would get the book thinking it was entitled The New Yorker with a picture of Americans in Central Park having the time of their lives, but when they read, they would realize what the Japanese were encountering at the same time.

We'll see what happens here - I'd like to have students look at many opinions and try to grasp an opinion of their own.  Personally, it's awesome when an junior high student picks it up and places it in his teacher's hand.  Then, that teacher takes that book and passes it out five years later to a Senior High English class. 

1 comment:

EDK said...

It is so heartening to see that the students are exposed to a mention of the Hiroshiman tragedy. In college, i encountered an entire class of students who knew nothing of Hiroshima, I was appalled. How do we learn from history if we do not know the stories? This should definitely be studied in history classes, but at least they are being exposed in your literature/compsition/English class. Good for you!