The Last Cherry Blossom -- a Multicultural Children's Book Day Review #ReadYourWorld

Disclosure: Kathleen Burkinshaw gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review in return for an honest review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

It is January and that means Multicultural Children's Book Day is approaching. This year it is January 27th and I am co-hosting, so be sure to check back to see the amazing array of books reviewed for this great day.

 For more about this special day see below, but now it is time to tell you about the amazing book I am sharing today. It is The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw. Now I learned about the Holocaust and the atomic bomb droppings of World War II, but really it was the American and European view of the war. This book shows us the point of view of a young Japanese girl living in the Hiroshima area and it is based on Kathleen's own mother's experience.

 Reading this book gave me an amazing view into Japanese life. Throughout the books she uses Japanese words (there is a glossary in the back with further explanation of the terms with a quick definition in English during the story). The culture is seen from having a neighbor die and how the neighborhood acts. Emotions are not shown in public and it is considered an honor to die for the emperor. It is a lifestyle I struggle to imagine. The other thing that really hits home is that Yuriko has the same questions about relationships and life as the average twelve-year-old in America would. The questions are in many ways still the same with different circumstances. I will be very honest I was reading through tears in the last few chapters. This story is emotional and really brings the horrors of war to the reader. 

Kathleen often shared her mother's story with schools each year, and the educators asked her if she had a book to expand her discussion and always be used. This pushed her to write this heartfelt book. You may know about World War II but I promise you this is a different point of view from what you have learned. This book really shows the horrors of the nuclear weapons that various countries have. To me this is a must read book when learning about World War II. The devastation of the bombs was so horrific and is often coated over during lessons. This book shares the story from such the enemy point of view which we often do not stop to consider. 

To go along with this book I made a simple cherry blossom craft. I actually made this for a past birthday party (I think her second one which was tea party) and saw the craft in a book.  To make this craft you find a good branch and add pieces of pink or white tissue paper crumbled up to the small branches. I used floral tape to attach them. Since cherry blossoms do not bloom around here very much, this is a way of thinking about spring and the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. 

I hope you will check out this amazing book.  It teaches so much about culture and about the war in a way you have not heard previously. Stay tuned for even more Multicultural Children's Book Day Reviews!! I often do a few and will again this year!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
MCBD Links to remember:
MCBD site:
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:


  1. This looks amazing. Books like this are so important to help young readers comprehend what happened.

  2. I greatly appreciate the way this book gives us an inside view into life in a Japanese home and community. Love your activity. It's beautiful. :) #readyourworld

  3. Sounds like a great book about an important part of Japanese history. Thanks for reviewing and being part of Multicultural Children's Book Day! #ReadYourWorld


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