Your students are going to love these Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes activities! You’ll find a novel study sample, an animated short comparison activity, and an anchor chart idea.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes Summary
The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. At this time, Sadako was two years old. The story begins eleven years later. Sadako wakes up energetic and excited because she enjoys the celebrations of Peace Day.
Sadako loves to run. Her goal is to make the race team in junior high school. She practices daily but notices that she often feels dizzy after running. In early autumn, Sadako collapses. At the hospital, her family learns that she has leukemia. The radiation poisoning from the atomic bomb caused the illness.
Sadako’s best friend brings paper to the hospital. She shows Sadako how to make paper cranes. The legend says that if a person makes 1000 cranes, the person is granted a wish. Sadako begins making cranes as she fights the sickness.
As Sadako struggles to get better, she meets another boy who has leukemia. He dies. Sadako appears to be getting better. She goes home to celebrate Obon. Sadako relapses and must return to the hospital. She dies on October 25, 1955.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Activities
Book Unit Samples
Grab your free novel study samples including vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed response writing prompts here.
Teaching Idea #1 ~ Character Trait Pyramids
This free resource contains three pyramid organizers plus answer keys: one each for Sadako, Chizuko, and a blank organizer that can be used for any character. Students write physical characters on one triangle, and inner traits on one triangle, and color/draw the character on the third triangle.
Students use the information from the triangles to complete the Venn diagram.
This handout contains the activity described here as well as the animated short activity described below.
Teaching Idea #2 ~ Anchor Chart
This interactive anchor chart is super easy to make. Either draw or print out pictures that can be glued onto the chart paper to represent each member of Sadako’s family. Students compare the family members by listing relationships to Sadako and/or the personality traits of the characters.
The best thing about this type of anchor chart is that it can be reused each year by having students write details on sticky notes instead of writing on the anchor chart itself.
Teaching Idea #3 ~ Comparing the Book to the Animated Short A Folded Wish
In this animated short, twin sisters named Chiharu and Hanako suffer from tuberculous. Obachan takes care of the girls while they attempt to fold a thousand origami cranes in hopes of recovering from their fatal disease.
A Venn diagram to compare the animated short to the novel along with an answer key is provided in the handout.
If you missed the link above, here it is again.
Animated Short – A Folded Wish
Book – Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Sadako’s best friend named Chizuko brings paper to the hospital. She shows Sadako how to make paper cranes.
Sadako meets another patient Kenji who also has leukemia. Kenji dies.
Sadako dies before completing the 1000 cranes. Her two friends complete the task and place the finished cranes in her casket.