Full Circle

By Kathleen Burkinshaw

Every year in May, 20 Hiroshima city employees gather at the Cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. After a moment of silence at 8:15am (time the bomb was dropped), they begin to remove the 114 leather bound volumes that now hold over 305,000 handwritten names of each person that was in Hiroshima that day and has since died (unknown victims also have a dedicated page).

I think of the compassion and reverence that these employees hold for the atomic bomb victims.  They use white gloves to carefully remove one volume at a time, place them on a white sheet, and delicately air them out page by page.  After that, they move these registers inside to be protected from the upcoming humid, rainy season.  Lastly, they add the names of Hiroshima survivors who have passed away within this last year (regardless of where they were when they died). At the August 6th memorial service, they will return these volumes to again rest under the protection of the cenotaph arch.


I added my mother’s name to one of those leather-bound volumes in July 2015, when my husband, daughter and I visited Hiroshima six months after she passed away.  As I stood in front of the cenotaph, I believed my mom had come full circle. She returned, in a sense, to her beloved papa, her family, and her friends. And yes, I felt the pain of the horrific suffering and loss that happened on that very ground, as well as in the years that followed for the survivors whether physical, emotional, or both. But, in my heart I also felt the strength of the survivors like my mom who kept moving forward when the world they knew ceased to exist.

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Ten MG novels with protagonists who limp

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell
After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Dive: The Discovery by Gordon Korman
The Dagger Quick by Brian Eames
The Dangerous Discoveries of Gully Potchard by Julia Lee
The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Of these novels, we can only vouch for The Iron Trial and Handbook for Dragon Slayers, both of which we’ve read and loved; we’re eager to find out how the disability aspect is handled in the other novels! 

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Ten fierce middle-grade novels with protagonists who limp. @disabilityinkidlit