There was a lot of work and research involved, but now that their study of the World War II bombing of Hiroshima is complete, the grade 4 class at Morrisburg Public School has a wonderful keepsake to cherish.
The keepsake is a beautifully produced book titled Peace Island. It includes colorful artwork and the class-produced story of two pilots, one American and one Japanese who were shot down on a South Pacific island during World War II. The story tells how the pilots became friends.
“The topic was about peace,” said grade 4 teacher Jim Lamoureux.
The large project started in December and the students completed a lot of reading, mainly of books dealing with the bombing of Hiroshima.
The students worked in teams of two and from their studies they wrote and illustrated their own book, Peace Island. Each of the two person teams was responsible for two pages.
“We did the whole plot,” explained Mr. Lamoureux. “We brainstormed the story as a whole class. We had an idea wall, and worked out what each of the characters should look like. Then for every page that had the character, the kids used that as their bookmark for their artwork.”
“The theme of our book is that by working together, peace can be achieved.”
The students posted their pages on the Wiki class website, and Mr. Lamoureux did the final editing.
“It turned out really, really well,” said Lamoureux. “We did some fund raising to bring the cost down and make it affordable for each of the kids to purchase. It’s not published for sale.”
Through their studies of Hiroshima, the students discovered the story of Sadako Sasaki who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, near her home in Hiroshima. In 1955, she was diagnosed with leukemia which was linked to her exposure to the radiation.
During her illness, Sadako was introduced to the ancient Japanese story that promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish by the Gods.
The story is that Sadako died before she completed the 1,000 cranes, and her friends completed them after her death.
Funds were raised to build a memorial to her and all of the children who died from the effects of the atomic bomb.
Sadako has become a leading symbol of the impact of nuclear war and every year, school children around the world make and send paper cranes to Japan to be placed at the base of her memorial.
“So everyone in this classroom has folded origami cranes,” said Mr. Lamoureux. “We have strung them together in garlands of 100, and we are shipping them to Hiroshima where they will be placed on our behalf.”