Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker mauzo: "What was the first book (/film/comic/…) you read that explicitly centred a non-white person, and how old were you at the time?"

I had a number of Little Golden Books the main characters of which were non-white girls, but the first book I read at an age where I can recall its having a huge impact on me was Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr (1977). I was maybe 7 or 8 when I first read it.

The book, inspired by a real person, tells the story of a Japanese girl, just a baby when the A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, who later develops leukemia as a result of her exposure to the radiation. She's told of a myth that says if she can fold a thousand paper cranes, she'll be cured, so she sets to work…

I remember pulling this book off the shelf at the school library; I even remember the simple cover and the first time I opened it and started to read it. It stays with me so powerfully.

It was largely responsible for awakening my curiosity about history and, perhaps more importantly, the realization that my country could do things that hurt other people.

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