Saturday 21 June 2014

Yoko's Diary edited by Paul Ham

Yoko's Diary edited by Paul Ham has been shortlisted for this years CBCA Eve Pownall award for Information Book.

Yoko was a 13 yr old girl living and going to school in Hiroshima in 1945.

The first section of this book is dedicated to the process of bringing her diary to light.

It explains how Australian author & historian, Paul Ham became interested in her story.
We meet her half-brother, who survived the atomic bombing, but spent his life grieving the loss of his sister. And how a TV program in Japan sparked off the idea to publish Yoko's diary.

Other family members & school friends provide more background information - about Yoko, the war, life in Hiroshima and how survivors were treated after the war.

Ham includes family photographs, maps and copies of letters.

Yoko's actual diary takes up the second half of the book. It concerns itself with her day to day life. Ham has inserted at regular intervals throughout the diary information pages to further explain some of her comments i.e. 'rationing', 'letters to the soldiers', 'some school rules', and 'battle of Okinawa.'

Her last entry is on the 5th August, the day before the atomic bomb.
On the morning of the 6th, Yoko was part of a school working group doing demolition work in the city - they were only 700m away from the epicentre of the blast.

Ham finishes with a touching letter from the woman who nursed Yoko in her last hours.

I can see this book becoming very popular (and useful) in Yr 6/7 classes discussing WW2 & memoirs.


  1. This sounds fascinating and very moving. I hope that it will be available in the US.

  2. This one sounds amazing, I'll have to seek it out.


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